Tag Archives: Hers

Hers: Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder?

Oops.  It’s been quite a few days, and this blog has fallen by the wayside.  Of course, it hasn’t been forgotten.  Greg likes to remind me every day that we need to write.  He also likes to remind me that we need to clean the bathroom and buy a house, among other things.  In the spirit of productivity, we’ll cross one thing off that list at a time.  Right now, let’s get this blog up to speed.

The thing about blogging is, more often than not, you’re just talking about your life.  And sometimes, life is boring.  Or aggravating.  Or a little bit depressing.  No one wants to read about those things.  At least, I don’t think you do.  If you’re interested in hearing about this week’s violations at the “lady-bits doctor” or how I locked my keys in my car, then by all means, call me.  We’ll talk.  Otherwise, I’ll favor a little absence over transparency any day.  I think most would agree.

The other thing about blogging about your life is, sometimes, life just gets in the way.  Take Greg, for example.  He’s been working several industry trade shows a week for the past few weeks.  This usually means he’s out of the house by 6:30, on his feet all day, and walking back in the house around 8, exhausted and smelling like a tortilla chip.  After a shower and a snack, it’s off to bed.  If he makes it to 9, it’s a late night.  Blogging has not been his top priority.

(Something to know about Greg, though, is he that loves sleep.  If given a choice between a solid 8 hours and ME, I’m not sure I would win.  I’ve actually come down in the middle of the night to find him sound asleep and smiling.  It’s not the early bedtime that’s been unusual lately, but the grunt work preceding it.  I live with an old man.)

So there you have it.  A little bit of an explanation on where we’ve been, and why it hasn’t been here.  Hopefully, we’ll have something fun and exciting to report.  If not, it’s likely the dog will eat something he’s not supposed to, and that’s always fun to talk about too.  Either way, we won’t be strangers any longer.  How about you do the same?

Leave a comment

Filed under Thoughts

Hers: Exercise Gets You On The News

Some of you may have read Greg’s post a few days ago about the KOGA workout.   I think his focus was on how much his ass hurt the next day, so I’ll give a little bit of background about one of the best ways I’ve found to break a sweat, and how it got me on the local news.

The KOGA workout was created by Jon Koga, a personal trainer and fitness guru out of Long Island, NY.   It combines high-intensity cardio kickboxing with yoga poses, resulting in an ass-kicking a la Walker Texas Ranger, Yogi division.   Jon’s passion is infectious, and after one class, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be signing up for another.   You can also be certain that your muscles will be shaking and you’ll be sweating like a beast.

I found KOGA about 6 years ago, while living back home on Long Island after college.   I was a devoted attendee in the weekly classes and, as always, a fan of exercise that doesn’t actually FEEL like exercise.   KOGA was a great way to alleviate stress, burn calories, and, as a kicker, my abs weren’t looking too bad.  I was hooked.

Unfortunately, after moving to NYC for work, I was unable to find a gym that offered the cardio-beating I loved.   I settled for the occasional Spin class and spent the rest of the time staring at the clock on the elliptical, wishing the time away. It wasn’t until this past August that I noticed a flyer for a KOGA demonstration at a local Summer Streets event.  I made plans to attend the class, hopeful, but not terribly optimistic.  Could it be?

IT WAS!

I’ve since reconnected with Jon Koga and his team, feeding my addiction as often as I can at gyms around the metro area.   I am also making the jump and getting certified to teach in November.   When Jon called me a few weeks ago and asked me to attend a taping for the local NYC news, I was glad to help spread the word.  KOGA is slowly making it’s way through the Tri-State area, and with any luck, it will end up in gyms near YOU very soon!

If you have any questions about getting your butt kicked or how to get involved, please email me at venusandmarsbars@gmail.com!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Reviews

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Thoughts

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Reviews

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hers: Creature of Habit, or How To Cook a Spaghetti Squash

For as long as I can remember, my father has woken up by 6:30am every morning and sat down to one of two breakfasts: 2 pieces of rye toast with butter or a bowl of maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee, black.  Sometimes, if he’s feeling saucy, he’ll have half a grapefruit.  Now, there may have been mornings where a bialy with cheese appeared, or maybe even a donut, and there was that affair with the South Beach Diet breakfast frittata,  but for the most part, my father is a toast and oatmeal kind of guy.

In this sense, I am very much my father’s daughter.  That’s not to say that I won’t try new things; in fact, I enjoy new flavors and dishes very much.  However, if I find something I like, there’s a good chance it will stick around for a while.  I am a creature of habit.

In the summer, I wake up every morning to a bowl of Greek yogurt, lightly sweetened and flavored with cinnamon.  Sometimes, there will be some cereal or fruit mixed in, but the yogurt is always the same.  When the weather cools down, yogurt gives way to warm oatmeal, still sweetened and cinnamon-y delicious, now with the addition of vanilla bean and a splash of milk.

Whole Grain Goodness

Whole Grain Goodness

I drink my coffee the same way every day.  I prefer to drink it out of the same mug, the one with the A on it from Fishs Eddy on Park Avenue. (Have you been here?  It is the greatest store in the world.)  The coffee must be hot, and I will only use skim milk.  Anything else makes my coffee taste like butter.  Butter is good on toast or a baked potato, not in coffee.

A-mazing.

A-mazing.

In the winter, Sunday dinners are for roast chicken.  Sometimes, I think it might be nice to make a pork loin, or maybe even a steak, but in the end, it’s always chicken.  Greg and I will sit down to a great Sunday feast, and the leftovers will make excellent sandwiches and salads for weekday lunches.  I make my chicken the same way every week: nestled on a thick bed of onions and seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.  Remind me to give you my recipe for roast chicken one day.  It is fantastic.  Roast chicken is the best thing about Sundays.

chicken

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

I ate the exact same dinner 4 nights last week.  Spaghetti squash, topped with homemade tomato sauce and parmesan cheese, with some tofu or white beans thrown in for protein.  It was a busy work week, Greg wasn’t home one night, I was lazy, and it was just good. It was healthy, it was what I wanted, and that was fine.

So I leave you with something I wish I would have learned before the 4th night of this dinner: how to microwave a spaghetti squash.  Prior to this useful bit of knowledge, I roasted the suckers, and it took forever.  Now, I have been enlightened, and I’m happy to share my squash-nuking techniques with the rest of you.  After all, I’ll probably eat this again very soon.

Take your clean spaghettie squash (approx. 3 lbs.) and pierce the skin in several places with a sharp paring knife.  This allows the steam to escape while it is becoming delicious.

Poke Poke.

Poke Poke.

Microwave on High for 10-12 minutes, or until the skin gives slightly when touched.

Squash, Meet Your Doom.

Squash, Meet Your Doom.

If you haven’t poked it sufficiently with the knife, this will happen.  You don’t want to clean this up, so be generous with your poking.

Insufficient Poke-age.

Insufficient Poke-age.

Let the squash stand about 5 minutes, or until it is cool enough to touch.

Slice in half, remove the seeds, and then begin the business of removing the flesh from the shell.

Stick a fork in it.

Stick a fork in it.

And there you have it…Spaghetti Squash for Dummies.  Don’t feel bad about eating it (or anything else)  several nights in a row.  I don’t.

1 Comment

Filed under Food, Thoughts

Hers: TMI, or Eat Your Vegetables

Greg and I are, by most accounts, relatively modest people.  That’s not to say that we’re ultra-conservative or stiff; as a matter of fact, it’s quite the contrary.  We just feel that certain subjects are better left behind closed doors….most importantly, the subject left behind the bathroom door.  Full disclosure?  No, thank you.

Let’s keep the romance, shall we?

Not so romantic?

Clearly, we are in love.

Suffice it to say, a surprisingly large amount of people don’t agree with me.  Every time I turn on the TV, I’m bombarded with commercials for foods that will “improve your digestive health” and “cleanse your system.”  Pardon me while I change the channel.  I’d rather think the woman serving me my morning coffee is smiling because she’s a warm, friendly person, and not because she had a party on the john a few hours earlier.  (Yes, this commercial exists!)  For someone that finds these sorts of topic taboo, flipping on the TV is a virtual minefield lately.  What happened to the dog food commercials with the little puppies?

Puppies make for good commercials.

Puppies make for good commercials.

My general revulsion to this public announcement of business came to a head this morning while picking up a gallon of milk at our local grocery store.  As I stood on line, I couldn’t help but overhear the cashier and customer in front of me having a lengthy discussion about….what?  Am I hearing this right?

It went something like this:

Cashier: “No, it happens to me all the time.  This is what you have to do: Go buy a package of chocolate pudding, make it on the stove, and then eat it hot right out of the pot.  You’ll be going in no time.  Sometimes, I go twice in an hour.”

Customer: “Really?  I never tried that.  I haven’t gone in days.”

Cashier: “Works every time.”

Excuse me while I try to stop my ears from bleeding.

Now, I’ve just about broken every personal rule I have for myself by sharing this with you; however, there is a reason. (And I do apologize if anyone lost their lunch.  I assure you, it was far worse in person.)  While trying to peel my jaw off the floor—yes, my mouth gaped open that wide—I couldn’t help but look into this customer’s basket.  A bag of Oreos, a rib-eye steak, a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi, and 4 (four!) blocks of cheese.  Now, doctor I am not, but Houston, I think we’ve found our problem.

I’m not sure how the above conversation started (thank you, Jesus, Allah, and all things holy, for saving me from that), but it did make me think twice about the contents of this woman’s basket.  And aside from the cashier’s less-than-stellar-health-advice, I had one thing I wanted to tell them both:

Eat a salad.

A diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables is nutritious, delicious, and will do more for your body that just alleviate your….issues.  Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases.  Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts, those who eat more generous portions of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.  Eating a varied diet full of fresh ingredients will make you feel great and look even better.

Fresh and organic.

Fresh and organic.

Some of my favorite ways to sneak 5 servings a day into my diet are:

  • Mix fresh berries with your morning oatmeal, yogurt, or dry cereal
  • Swap sliced zucchini or cucumbers for the chips with your favorite dip
  • Enjoy 4 oz. of 100% fruit juice mixed with seltzer for a refreshing drink
  • Start your meal with a cup of broth-based vegetable soup
  • Keep single-serve portions of dried fruit in your bag for a mid-day pick-me-up
  • Toss equal parts spaghetti squash and whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and parmesan cheese
Two at a time!

Two at a time!

The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more you will crave them, and the more your body will thank you.  What are your favorite ways to enjoy 5-a-day?

And in the meantime, for God’s sake, please keep your “issues” to yourself.

2 Comments

Filed under Food, Thoughts