Hers: A Sorry Attempt

I wanted to write something clever and interesting tonight, something that will make you keep coming back to this blog.  I wanted to be witty and entertaining and intelligent and original.  I also do not want Greg to yell at me in the morning because I said I was going to write and then fell asleep watching “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”  This happens more than I would like to admit.

Here’s the deal: my brain is fried, and my body is soon to follow.  So, in lieu of a nonsensical post about nothing at all, I will leave you with a picture that makes me happy.

Liz Padilla Memorial 5K

Liz Padilla Memorial 5K

This is my “official” race photo from my 5K a few weeks ago.  I received it in my email this morning, and it was a nice reminder on an otherwise dreary Monday.  I like that I am smiling like a lunatic, mostly because I am glad that I can stop running, but also because Greg, my sister, and my friend Lindsay are a few feet away and cheering for me.  My form is probably all wrong, and I’d like to shave a minute off my time at the next race, but I still really like this picture.  Look, Ma, I did it!

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His: Do I Look Like A Grunter?

Weird title huh?  I know, but I thought I would do my best Tarantino impression and start with the end and fill in the gaps as we go.  And I just shot Marvin in the face!

That Is A Tasty Burger.

That Is A Tasty Burger.

Anyway, it started over a year ago when we joined a local gym in our neighborhood.  The standard health reasons for joining you can probably assume, but the ACTUAL reason that we chose the one that we did (and we still belong) is because there is free parking.  The redeeming qualities of the gym (which will remain nameless) end there.  And for what we get, the $63 a month that we pay really seems like extortion. Come on! A buddy of mine goes to an NYC rec center and pays $75 a year.  Granted, he has to stay alert at all times and there is a high stabbing rate, but I think I could handle it.  I used to watch OZ.

In My Head, This Is The Rec Center

In My Head, This Is The Rec Center

And I understand that places like Equinox and NYSC are even more, but you probably get what you pay for.  What we get is an unfriendly staff, really shitty Queens electro Euro-trash pop music and headphone connections that never work for their four televisions.  What are we?  Amish?  And seriously, is it me or shouldn’t the staff at a FITNESS CENTER look like they use the equipment every once in a while?  Honestly, I think ten percent of the workforce has ever worked out.  Even when one of them does, you wish they hadn’t.  Like the one time the manager’s vajay jay was quite visible due to her unflattering and unnecessarily short shorts.

Not A Personal Trainer

Not A Personal Trainer

They try to compensate for their shortcomings by offering four dollar smoothies and classes like the dance class that I talked about in my last post and a boxing class taught by a guy who I’m pretty sure fought Joe Lewis (use the Google).

BULLY! BULLY? BULLY!

BULLY! BULLY? BULLY!

I know at this point, you may be thinking, “Stop whining and switch gyms then!”  Well, that’s exactly what we did.  Or at least we tried to.  As I eluded to earlier, we are still frequenting this Meat Head Mecca.  We finally concluded that free parking trumps everything.  But before we had to concede defeat, we explored our options….or option I should say.  Ally and I went to visit a new Planet Fitness (famous for its $19.95 per month policy).  It was great inside; plenty of equipment, plenty of tv’s and best of all, it was cheap.  We left, feeling excited but a little dirty like we had cheated on a lover.  The following week, we mustered up enough courage to break it off with the other gym.

We marched straight up to the counter to the most unfriendly employee they have and said, “We’d like to cancel our membership.”

“Why,” she responded arrogantly, sticking her pierced nose up at us.

“Uh, because Planet Fitness is only $20 per month and I can save $500 a year if we switch,” was my retort.

I was prepared for the worst and yet secretly hoped it would be like the episode of Friends when Chandler tries to quit his gym, but they get the super hot chick to convince him otherwise.

I Would Have Stayed if SHE Asked.  I Hate You, Tom Brady.

I Would Have Stayed if SHE Asked. I Hate You, Tom Brady.

No, not even close.  Her first response.  Her first inkling.  The thing that she thought beyond a shadow of a doubt would convince us to stay was, “You know they don’t let you grunt there.”

Insert title here.

“Uh, hold on, I have to get Jerry the manager,” she muttered.

So Jerry comes over, all smiles, ready to keep us in his Thunderdome.  Again, we tell him that we’re going to Planet Fitness.  He proceeds to assure us that we’ll be back and that several members previously switched to Planet Fitness but ultimately ended up back there.  He finally agreed to let us go.  We were free at last, free at last.  No longer did we have to deal with this place and awful members who stare at their abs in the mirror (a daily occurrence).

But alas, like those dysfunctional relationships that you just can’t get out of, we got back together.  We couldn’t let go of the parking.  It was like they knew something horrible about us, and in order to keep that secret, we agreed to go back to them.  And we’re still together today.  But the itch is back to switch again.  And this time, we’re staying local.  We won’t need parking because we can walk to this gym.  We would have switched earlier but it’s more expensive so we were hesitant.  But it doesn’t matter anymore, we can’t take it.  So when we break up again, you’ll hear about it.   Here we go!  Like a Band Aid!

Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

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Hers: The Waverly Inn Makes Great Butter

Alright, I have a secret to tell you.  Greg and I went somewhere very exciting the other night, but we weren’t really supposed to be there.  The food was excellent.  It was very secretive, and I don’t even have pictures to show you.  If you take a picture in this place, the manager will kindly come up to you and kick.you.out.

Are you curious?

Well, sit back down, and I’ll tell you the story.

The Waverly Inn is not a restaurant.  It is, in fact, “a semi-private dining club tucked away in the West Village.”  There is no reservationist, and there is no telephone number for Average Joe’s (or Greg’s) to call from Astoria and secure a table by the fire.  The only way to get a table is, if by some miracle of God, you have been blessed with the private phone number or email address that confirms you are one of the chosen few.  Or if you are a celebrity.  Or, in our case, if you regularly dog-sit for a cop in that particular precinct.  Thanks for the hook-up, Adam.

Owned and operated by Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair magazine, the Waverly Inn is the epitome of exclusive city living.  For two wanna-be yuppies living in the Outer Boroughs, it is the holy grail.  Good food and celebrity sightings are our siren song, and when Greg got the call that a Thursday night table was ours, we dropped our trashy weeklies and jumped on the subway.  For one night, we were going to be the upper crust.

The Waverly sits on an indescript corner of Bank and Waverly streets, tucked in amongst the brownstones we’ll never afford and the luxury cars we’ll never drive.  We arrived early, looking forward to a good meal and hoping for a celebrity sighting or two.  After checking in with the host, we sidled our way up to the bar and perused the drink menu while waiting for our table.  I had my nose stuck deep in a glass of Syrah when…

…Wait a second….is that Karl Lagerfeld?  The father of Chanel?

I elbowed Greg, who was busy slurping on an elderflower margarita, and pointed out the Fashion Guru.  Celebrity sighting? Check.  As we were lead to our table a few moments later, we casually scanned the dining room.  You never know where those famous people might be hiding.

As is customary, every dinner starts with a basket of the Waverly’s famous biscuits and strawberry butter.  Yes, strawberry butter.  Only in places like the Waverly Inn and the Wonka Chocolate factory do things like strawberry butter exist, the perfect accompaniment to a rich and flaky biscuit.  Please note that it is inappropriate to slip leftover biscuits and butter in your purse.  Fight the urge.  You will not be invited back.

The waiter recited the night’s specials and left Greg and I to debate our choices.  We agreed to split an appetizer and each ordered one of the specials (as usual, meat for Him, fish for Her) for our main course.  Though tempted, we did not order the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese, for $95.  $95 is too much money to spend on pasta with cheese; however, if you’ve had, please let me know if it is worth our electric bill.

Our first course arrived, a Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Diced Egg, and Dijon Emulsion, served with toast points for dipping.  The waiter had barely set the plate down on the table before Greg and I pounced on it; biscuits with strawberry butter, while decadent, are not very filling.  The tuna was rich and unctuous, heightened by the creamy avocado and fattiness of the egg yolk.  The dijon added just the right touch of acid and a hint of salt.  We both felt the dish could have used some crunch for a little texture, but the toast points were a nice substitution.  So far, dinner at the Waverly was off to a rousing success.

Shortly after we licked our plates finished the first course, our main dishes were upon us.  Greg’s eyes grew large when the waiter placed before him a Grilled Rib Eye with Roasted Root Vegetables.  Greg is a Meat and Potatoes type of guy, and the thick steak on his plate was enough to make any vegetarian have second thoughts.  The thick crust crackled forgivingly when it met Greg’s steak knife, and the medium-rare meat glistened on his fork.  I, one who generally scorns red meat, had immediate second thoughts on my own dinner choice.   Fork came to mouth, and it was confirmed: few things make Greg happier than good steak.  Except maybe, Pittsburgh sports and peanut M&M’s.

Before I could experience any buyer’s remorse, I was rewarded with Halibut over White Beans, Kale, and Celery Root.  Oh my. The chef is clearly very thoughtful, as he left my fish swimming in a delicious broth, flavored with smokey bits of bacon.  (Fish, like everyone else in the universe, love bacon.) The heady aromas of ocean and pork were enough to make me forget the steak across the table in a matter of seconds.  Because I am Considerate and Kind, I offered Greg a bite of my fish, and then ate every last bit. I am also a Dainty Little Thing, wouldn’t you know.  It was light and delicious, an excellent choice.

The best part of the meal, perhaps, was something not on the Autumn menu.  It was the knowledge that,”hey, this is a pretty cool thing we’re doing tonight.”  Greg and I don’t get too many chances for weeknight dates, and even fewer chances to eat in elite NYC restaurants.  Throw in some possible celebrity sightings and strawberry butter, and we are a happy pair.

Desserts were politely rejected.  No need to be greedy, and my emergency purse stash of M&M’s is a good safety for late night subway snackage.  We (Greg) paid the check and left our table by the fire, only to brush past Harvey Weinstein on the way out.  Celebrity sighting #2? Check.

So, is the Waverly all its cracked up to be?  I say, sure.  The food is good, the service is sufficient, and the experience was a nice break from work and other weekly stresses.  Even though we’re not important enough to demand a standing reservation, it was fun to pretend that we were.  I’ll pretend to be anything that lets me eat strawberry butter.

I’m sorry we don’t have any pictures, but maybe you’ll get a chance to eat there yourself.  There are plenty of cops in this town, so start dog-sitting and you might earn yourself a table.

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Hers: An Important Introduction

Oh my goodness.  It seems that Greg and I have been so busy talking about ourselves that we’ve neglected to mention a very important member of the Venus and Mars Bars team.  A contributing editor, if you will.

Meet Reilly.

Hi, I'm Reilly.

Hi, I'm Reilly.

Reilly is a 2-year-old red nose pitbull and an irreplaceable member of our family.  Reilly’s favorite hobby is chasing squirrels, and he enjoys eating red bell peppers but does not like shrimp.  Reilly prefers to sleep with his head on the pillow and will push you out of bed if he does not have enough room.  He is a Sagittarius.

I love my mom and dad.

What's your sign?

Reilly holds several important positions at Venus and Mars Bars.  Most importantly, he is the Director of Eating Shit He Is Not Supposed To.

Some of Reilly’s recent projects include:

Post-Its, several clothes hangers, tofu, a pumpkin, a hat, a Banana Republic sweater, 4 collars, 1 leash, a hairbrush, an entire cantaloupe, a lint roller, Scotch tape, a couch cushion, a bath towel, the TV guide, a notebook, all the measuring cups except for the 1/3 cup, and a box of Brillo pads.

Thankfully, with the exception of One Night We Will Not Discuss, Reilly has an iron-clad digestive system.  Taking him for a walk is the equivalent of an archaeological dig.  What goes in always comes out, often with hot pink Post-It notes flagging the way.  This skill set has earned him the title of Poop Master.

I eat a lot of fiber.

I eat a lot of fiber.

Reilly is also a highly-skilled nap-taker and was recently promoted to Sleep Supervisor.  While he prefers to do most of his napping from 9-5, he often works overtime to get the job done.  Reilly has an incredible work ethic.

All in a day's work.

All in a day's work.

Occasionally, Reilly also does some freelance work as a Gas Manager.  This role generally involves slinking up behind his co-workers and releasing deadly fumes.

It wasn't me.

It wasn't me.

On several occasions, Reilly has been known to clear an entire room.  After several run-ins with upper management, it seems necessary that we fill this position permanently with a less-potent candidate.

Reilly may pop up on the blog from time to time, so it seemed appropriate to give him a formal introduction.  He is currently accepting applications for Full Time Belly Scratchers, so if you know of anyone interested, please email us at:

venusandmarsbars@gmail.com

Please rub my belly.

Please scratch my belly.

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His: Confessions From An Aerobics Class

Yes, you read that title right.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I did indeed take an aerobics class with Ally.  Actually, I’ll admit that it is the second time I’ve taken a class with her at the gym.  They were two different classes, and I must admit that the latest class was one of the best workouts I’ve had (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also up there but I had to quit after I got fired from my job).

The first one that I took with Ally was a Dance themed class about three months ago.  I know that sounds bad  BUT, in reality, I was just being a good boyfriend. She had been hounding me to take this class with her for months.  We took the class and it was not pleasant….for me at least.  But Greg, weren’t you surrounded by a bevy of beautiful, fit ladies?  Why yes I was and my girlfriend was one of them so this point was moot.  Ok, fine, I’m sure the workout was fairly intense with all the plie-ing and arabesque-ing, right?  Um, not quite.  I’m sorry to say that it was a waste of a gym night.  Ally even admitted that it was a sorry excuse for a class.

Needless to say, I didn’t take the dance class again.  Actually I had no intention of ever entering a “aerobics studio” ever again.  Turns out that I’m a huge sucker.

Ally used to take KOGA classes when she still lived on the Island several years ago. Somehow, she rediscovered this Kickboxing slash Yoga workout in Astoria Park this past Summer and hasn’t shut up about it since.  Tune in to the Dr. Oz show this Tuesday at 3pm and you’ll see a segment on KOGA.  There will also be a piece in next month’s Self Magazine, so this thing is for real.

Well, this past Saturday, she finally convinced me to take a class at a local gym.  I went thinking that it would be a cake walk.  I WAS DEAD WRONG!  I’m pretty sure that the only reason I can type this is because my fingers are the only things that can move right now.  I’m sore in places that I didn’t think you could be sore.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m not talking about THERE.  Did you know that your esophagus could be sore without being sick?

Seriously, I hurt badly right now but I’m happy about it.  It’s always a good pain when you know you worked your ass off the day before.  And I would go back again and again and again regardless of the fact that the only other Y chromosome in the room belonged to the instructor.  John Koga’s passionate if cheesy instruction (think Billy Blanks if he was from Long Island) motivated me to the brink of exhaustion, but I didn’t quit, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I got home, drank a protein shake and swallowed four spirolina pills (yes I’m still taking them…update later).

So fellas, if your girl is trying to convince you to join her at a class at the gym, don’t scoff at the idea so quickly.  Give it a chance because you never know how hard it may be.  I took the chance and had a lot of fun and had a great workout.

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His: Find Your Motivation

So one might assume that, because we are bloggers and give our opinions on many different things to many different people, we are narcissistic and take ourselves very seriously.  While Ally is quite the opposite, in my case, you’re probably right.  I don’t at all mean that I don’t care about anyone else or that I look at myself in the mirror all the time because, in all reality, it’s only some of the time.  JOKING!

Oh, hello, are you looking at me?

Oh, hello, are you looking at me?

I know, I know, I just posted about how getting fit is good for your mind.  But seriously…I’d be lying to myself and to you if I didn’t say that being fit can be just as much about health as it is about looking awesome. And I’m here to tell you that it’s OK.

Of course, I’m not recommending going crazy about it.  There are more important things in life, and being obsessed with being healthy doesn’t make you healthy. But, if you’re single and trying to impress a new mate (yes, I said mate), or if  you’re in a steady relationship and want to keep up appearances, it’s ok to use that as motivation.  I exercise and try to eat right because I want to feel good and like what I see in the mirror, but I also want Ally to like what she sees.  Physical attraction is part of what makes a relationship work, and these chiseled features don’t come without a little sweat, you know? (Again, I kid!)

Like Adonis, I am.

Like Adonis, I am.

Relationships are a lot like exercising.  You’ve got to give a little to get a little, if you know what I mean. And if you can’t get up off the couch yourself, then you’ve got to find something (or someone) that will make you do it.

FIND YOUR MOTIVATION!  Maybe, for you, it’s watching “The Biggest Loser,”  which we just started doing.  You might tape a picture of David Beckham to the fridge to remind yourself to watch it with the beer.  Work out with a friend or significant other and remember that you’re doing something good for your body and for theirs.  Don’t use Madonna as a role model….she’s GROSS.

I have creepy Man-Arms.

I have creepy Man-Arms.

I’ll say it again….I don’t take myself too seriously (most of the time).  BUT, I do take being healthy and staying fit seriously, and I think you should too.  You’ll feel good about yourself, and the benefits go way beyond.  Motivation doesn’t always have to be something deep and full of meaning.  So long as you’re being smart and not taking it to extremes, it’s ok to be a little full of yourself.  You’re working hard, and there’s no shame in taking a look in the mirror and humming “I’m Too Sexy.”  If it gets you off your ass, then just do it. (Hi, Nike!  Please send me stuff!)

How do you stay motivated?  Let me know!

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His: Run A Muck, What the F*#!

So as Ally was running her first 5k ever, I was recovering from a 5k of my own, albeit a very different one than hers.    This past Saturday, me and three of my city dwelling friends hopped in my car, drove north to Harriman State Park and took part in the New York Runamuck Mud Run which is a beautiful 5k trail run through the park and along Sebago Lake.  The catch, however, is that not only do you have to traverse some pretty difficult terrain but there are obstacles,  a 100 yard water crossing and a 90 foot mud pit at the finish line. 

We Attempted A Loose Pirate Theme

We Attempted A Loose Pirate Theme

THIS RACE WAS FREAKING AWESOME!  I didn’t think it was possible to have that much fun while running.  There are six total races on the day. 

Our Final Approach

Our Final Approach

 There is an individual race, a two person team race and a four person team race.  After the first three are done, the process starts over again for the costume division which in itself is worth going to watch.  We ran in the four person team race and our team name was appropriately the “Dirty Mud Pirates.”  I assure you that I had nothing to do with our name or, for that matter, our slogan, “We do it in the Mud.” 

We started slow, allowing much of our pack to clear out so we could try to pass easier.  This plan sort of back fired early when the trail became only wide enough for a single file line.  On top of that, there were also points that were so steep and rocky that everyone had to walk.  It soon became evident that this was not about winning at all but having the best time we possibly could.  THAT became evident when, at about 1/2 mile in, at the first mud pit, one of my teammates tackled another one. 

King Leonidas and His Spartans Ran Too

King Leonidas and His Spartans Ran Too

Needless to say, the tone had been set for the afternoon.  I’m not saying we dogged it.  On the contrary, we went as fast as we could, but we also may have hurt our time with some tomfoolery.  I’d say we lost a good three minutes by making sure that our entire team had been submerged in the lake. 

Yes, They Ran In These

Yes, They Ran In These

We emerged from the lake refreshed and ready to finish strong.  We cleared the beach obstacles like kangaroos, leaping as if our lives depended on it. 

It Really Is As Fun As It Looks

It Really Is As Fun As It Looks

 All that was left was to hit the giant mud pit, get under a final net and cross the finish line.  We took that mud pit and made it our bitch with several belly flops and one perfectly executed front flip by yours truly.  We gathered our team and crossed the line in unison at about the 38 minute mark which definitely put us in the top third despite the shenanigans.

So if you ever wanted to exercise, then exfoliate and drink beer while watching people in costumes do the same thing, then Runamuck is definitely for you.  Also, they have live music (I got kicked off the stage after I tried to help the band perform that Kings of Leon song).  Seriously, this was an incredible day and I highly recommend it.

Post Race Celebration

Post Race Celebration

Post Race
Post Race

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