What to order for brunch in New York

I know, it's just Monday. But what better way to get over a case of the Mondays than to plan a great brunch for the weekend to come? To help tide you over til Friyay, here are 8 delicious things you can plan to have for brunch next weekend in New York.

1. The Classic at Russ & Daughters Cafe
No breakfast screams New York like the bagel and lox — and there's no better place to get it than New York institution Russ & Daughters, which has been serving up the city's best salmon, herring and sturgeon since 1914. For those looking for the most classic of New York breakfast staples, make a beeline for Russ and Daughters Cafe's Classic platter of smoky and buttery Gaspe Nova smoked salmon to be enjoyed with an everything bagel generously schmeared with cream cheese and topped with a heap of sliced tomatoes, onions and capers.

Russ & Daughters Cafe's Classic board
Russ & Daughters Cafe is located at 127 Orchard Street, New York, NY and is open from 10am on weekdays and from 8am on weekends.

2. Steamed scrambled eggs with prosciutto at Buvette
It's stunning, really, how something so simple can be so incredibly delicious. Buvette's scrambled eggs are the stuff of New York legend, brought its soft and sumptuous consistency using the steam wand that normally whips up the foam for your capuccino. When we came to this cozy little West Village spot for brunch, we sidled up in a corner with decadent nutella crepes and toast heaped with these legendary scrambled eggs, slices of unctuous prosciutto and a generous pile of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Our eyes widened as a took bite after bite of these understated but absolutely delicious bites. Come to Buvette with someone you are looking to romance the morning after a brilliant evening out on the town.

Buvette's steam-scrambled eggs with prosciutto
Buvette is located at 42 Grove St, New York, NY and is open from 8am on weekdays and from 9am on weekends.

3. Fried Chicken and Waffles at Brooklyn Star
Foodies lost their minds over Brooklyn Star last year when they started serving up the chicken and waffle cone at various pop-ups. While that wonder hybrid isn't available at their brick and mortar shop in Williamsburg, I think you'll find their version of fried chicken and waffles to be a more-than-worthy substitute. The fried chicken is crisp but also juicy, the waffle is plump and tasty, the candied grapefruit provides lovely respites of freshness, and it comes with a little tub of apple butter to slather over errthang! While Amy Ruth's is renowned as the institute for this fine specimen of Southern cooking, I personally prefer Brooklyn Star's version (not in the least because its comparatively closer proximity to my bed is key to enjoying this decadent meal).

Fried Chicken and Waffles at Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg
Brooklyn Star is located at 593 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY and is open for brunch from 12pm on weekends.

4. Crèpe au Foie Gras at Le Philosophe
One of the most decadent brunch meals I've had in the city was at Le Philosophe, where one can order roasted foie gras enveloped by airy crepes and drizzled with cherry puree and dark chocolate. Le Philosophe serves this dreamy dish as an appetizer during brunch so you can have one to share for the table or order it as your main dish, supplemented with some gougères. 

Crèpe au Foie Gras at Le Philosophe
Le Philosophe is located at 55 Bond St, New York, NY and is open for brunch from 11am on the weekends.

5. The monkey bread at Colonie
Monkey bread, that delectably sweet and gooey slice of Americana popularized by Nancy Reagan in the 80s, is one heck of a breakfast treat. It's quite unclear how this delectable bread got its name (the recipe does not, in fact, include monkeys), but this much is for sure: when these fluffy clumps of baked dough are laid out in front of you, you won't be able to resist digging in and pulling a gooey, caramel-covered piece. My favorite monkey bread is served at my go-to Brooklyn Heights brunch spot, Colonie. Go with a group of friends so you can share the monkey bread AND a basket of doughnuts, too.

Monkey bread at Colonie in Brooklyn
Colonie is located at 27 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY and is open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am.

6. The pork belly at Juventino
Sometimes you want your brunch to be more like breakfast; other times you want brunch to be like lunch. When it's the latter yearning that strikes, Juventino has the perfect hearty dish: pork belly with scalloped sweet potatoes, quinoa, truffle cream and yuzu marmalade. The pork belly's rich and fatty goodness pairs nicely with the subtle creamy taste of the sweet potatoes.

Pork belly at Juventino in Park Slope, Brooklyn
Juventino is located at 370 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY and is open from 10am all week.

7. Bulalo hash at Jeepney
As a Filipino who comes from a family of folks who take pleasure in tempting cardiac arrest with every meal, it is my duty to let you know that this heartstopping brunch fare is available at Jeepney. Jeepney has elevated the beloved Filipino "silog" breakfast formula, wherein "si" stands for sinangag or garlic fried rice, "log" is short for itlog, and the appearance of "silog" on a breakfast menu indicates that your chosen protein will include a serving of both. A great many things can come with "silog": tapa (marinated beef), longganiza (Filipino sausage), bangus (smoked milkfish), danggit (the stinkiest dried fish that I hold dearest to my heart), and even Spam. Jeepney kicks the "silog" up a notch by fusing it with the Filipino bulalo: a hearty soup made with beef shanks and bone marrow. Jeepney turns the beef shanks into a hash to go with a pile of garlic rice and eggs over easy. The whole shebang also comes with a cup of bulalo broth and a big hunk of bone marrow to be slathered on with the quintessential Filipino bread, pandesal

Bulalo hash at Jeepney in the East Village, New York
Jeepney is located at 201 1st Avenue, New York, NY and is open from 11am everyday.

8. As much dimsum as you can hustle away from old Chinese ladies at Ping's
One of the weekend's greatest pleasures in any city with a substantial Cantonese influence is the dimsum brunch. While dimsum is linked to the yum cha (tea tasting) tradition dating back to the Silk Road, these days it has come to be a breakfast or lunch meal shared among big groups. Part of the fun is cornering the little ladies pushing dimsum carts laden with steaming baskets of succulent dumplings in order to get your favorites. It takes chutzpah to battle other dragon ladies for those prized baskets of har gow but it's absolutely worth it. For the more adventurous, steamed chicken feet are also on the menu.

Dimsum at Ping's in Chinatown, New York
Ping's is located at 22 Mott Street, New York, NY and is open from 10:30am on weekdays and from 9am on weekends.

Falling for Storm King Art Center

Fall Foliage at Storm King Art Center

With fall foliage at its peak in New York, I rounded up a fun little group to visit Storm King Art Center last weekend. I've enjoyed this lush open air museum before in the spring but have long wanted to visit in the fall to see the monumental art framed by fiery red trees. Storm King did not disappoint, greeting us with glorious foliage at the entrance and giving us one heck of a playground to while our Sunday afternoon away. On my previous visit to Storm King, everything was lush and green, and we were somewhat distracted and missed out on a few key installations. This time, I made sure we got to see them: Maya Lin's Wave Field at the southern edge of the park is absolutely amazing while Zhang Huan's Three Legged Buddha was a quirky sight to see. The only hiccup was the weather, which last Sunday was somewhat less obliging, wrapping us in its chilly embrace on what ended up being the coldest fall day this year. At the end of the afternoon, we watched in disbelief as snow started to fall in the park—seemingly like a cruel mirage but in fact heartbreakingly real. It was a reminder that this beautiful season is an all too fleeting one. As the Starks say, winter is coming, so do make the most of every autumn day that remains!

Maya Lin's Wave Field at Storm King Art Center
Zhang Huan's Three Legged Buddha at Storm King Art Center
Fall leaves and Converse kicks
Suspended by Menashe Kadishman at Storm King Art Center
Mirror Fence by Alyson Shotz at Storm King Art Center
Mirror Fence by Alyson Shotz at Storm King Art Center
Sol LeWitt's Five Modular Units at Storm King Art Center
Lynda Benglis' Water Sources at Storm King Art Center

Storm King Art Center is located at 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, New York.

Let's Be Soup Dumplings

“It’s like men are vegetable soup. You can’t put them on a plate or eat them off the counter.
So women are the pot. They heat them up. They hold them. They contain them.
But who wants to be a pot?
Who the hell said we’re not soup?”
– Joyce Ramsay, Mad Men

One day, as I was watching CNN's The Sixties episode chronicling the rise of the feminist movement, I remembered an episode of that other brilliant show about a bygone era, Mad Men. The Beautiful Girls showed the layers of difficulty women faced back then, from the dismissiveness with which their contribution to the workplace was viewed ("She died like she lived  surrounded by the people she answered phones for," said Roger following the demise of Miss Blankenship) to Dr. Faye's feeling of inadequacy following her missed connection with Don's daughter (her lack of maternal inclination seen as a failure, despite her successful career). There was much to unpack in those multi-layered storylines about the show's lead females. But what stuck with me was the quote above from a peripheral character: Joyce Ramsay, Peggy's pot-smoking, lesbian, Life magazine assistant photo editor friend (that actress Zosia Mamet can play both Joyce on Mad Men and Shoshanna on Girls still blows my mind).

Upon hearing Joyce's words, my first instict was to think, how great that in this day and age, things aren't so black and white. Depending on circumstances, women too can be the soup while men play the role of pot. We have evolved, and for that I am grateful.

But then I thought again. Does it have to be one or the other? Must one person be charged with containing and supporting the other while the other provides substance and sustainance? Don't we all deserve the opportunity to be soup? Is there another option? What if we were more like those delicious little soup dumplings—self-contained and brimming with juice and substance. Can't we all enjoy each other's warmth, support and substance as we sit in this little bamboo steamer of life?

Just some food for thought ...

How to get motivated for a workout when you don't feel like it

For over a year, as I madly juggled attending graduate school and working full time, I let my fitness go by the wayside. Twenty months later, I had my master's diploma and a job, but simply walking up the subway stairs left me out of breath. It was discouraging to seemingly have to start from scratch but with a little bit of motivational trickery, I'm slowly but surely getting back into shape. So I thought I would share the little tricks that helped me to get off my tuccus in case there are others out there struggling with motivation. And because I am by no means the fitness role model, I have also asked some bad ass babes who have excelled at keeping themselves in top shape to share how they stay motivated over time. Wherever you are in the fitness spectrum, I hope you'll find a helpful hint or two here.

 This is me, Celine, an intermittent runner and wannabe polerina who currently relies on workout trickery to stay motivated. Hey, it works for me!

My foolproof short-term trick consists of sleeping in my workout clothes. It sounds silly but it works! See once upon a time, I had enough motivation to train for and run a marathon, but these days I can come up with myriad excuses to weasel my way out of a 30-minute run. There are certain evenings, however, when let's say I've participated in unbridled pasta consumption that I take special measures to ensure that I can't flake out on that early morning run. On such occasions, I go to bed almost fully dressed in my running clothes. When the alarm rings at the crack of dawn, the temptation to stay in bed is usually overtaken by the realization that I am already dressed for my workout. Believe me, it's much more difficult to flake out when all that's left to do is to put on running shoes. It works like a charm every time.

What has worked for me in the long term is finding an activity that I love that's also a killer workout in disguise: poledancing. I'm typically inwardly hostile to workouts when it seems like I have to do numerous repetitions for the express purpose of sculpting my body. With poledancing, I motivate myself to put in the work knowing that it's these conditioning exercises that will help me develop the strength to perform certain feats. Poledancing's spins, climbs and inversions are pretty foils for what is essentially intense strength training. It also helps that pole tricks, even the padawan moves I'm doing in the photos above, look pretty cool. Just thinking about what other amazing tricks future classes hold the key to motivates me to keep coming back!

Erin Campos Menk and I spent the greater part of our teenage lives together in ballet classes, cheerleading practice and jazz dance rehearsals. Erin has always been fit and disciplined, but the strength she has developed over the past few years because of her devotion to CrossFit has been astounding. If you've been hiding under a rock that hasn't been reached by this strength and conditioning brand, let me introduce you to CrossFit: it is a scaleable, constantly changing and high intensity workout that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing and medicine ball training to turn you into one bad ass babe. Considering how many CrossFit devotees I know, it appears to be hella addicting, but here are some tips from Erin in case you find yourself needing an extra boost:

"I know there are a ton of memes of this but I go by the saying, 'The only bad workout is the one you didn't do.' I keep telling myself that no matter how sluggish I feel, no matter how hard or challenging the workout is, I will feel better that I did it. Also, to get rid of the workout jitters and to help you get through a workout, nothing works better than a good cup of coffee that I add grassfed butter and MCT oil (coconut oil) to — often referred to as 'bulletproof coffee.' Don't knock it til you try it!"

Roma Van der Walt and I first met while slinging beers at a German beergarden in New York and stayed friends despite our busy schedules and ridiculous height discrepancy! Roma is one of those people who make me embarassed to call myself a runner because she's the real deal: as a pentathlete, she competed nationally and internationally as a member of the German National Team until 2002, and these days has rekindled her passion for running, with impressive results. Roma channels her knowledge and experience into Chitta Wellness, providing bespoke personal and group training, and specializing on working with women who are going through the stages of preconception, prenatal fitness and postpartum recovery. Here are her tips for those who need a little motivation:

"It’s always been easy for me to run but I meet a lot of people who dislike this form of exercise. I think most of the time it’s just the beginning that is hard, so I wish people would give it time. Here are my tips for how to master this easiest exercise of all (think about it: no travel time, just put your sneakers on and go!):

- find a local running club and meet like minded people to make the first few times easier
- run by feel and not by time
- sign up for a (short) race to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. I promise you, once you cross that finish line, you’ll be hooked!

The older we get, the less flexible we become, so my second piece of advice is do more yoga! I was the kind of person who didn’t want to do yoga because I didn’t want to sit in meditation. Yoga has become so much more than that. It helps with the respiratory system for other sports; keeps muscles, joints and tendons supple; and ultimately makes you better at other sports. If you are disciplined enough you can sign up for an inexpensive at-home service like Yogaglo.com but I have found that making the effort and going to a class has had a more structured and calming effect, as I can rely on a yoga teacher to guide me and force me to be present in my practice."

For more information on Chita Wellness' bespoke training, visit chittawellness.com. You can also get regular fitness inspiration by following Roma on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Pattie Palma Gil Poniente and I were ballet students and cheerleaders together in our younger years, and those years of dance training are evident in her inspiring yoga practice and work as an instructor at Barre3, a workout program which combines ballet, yoga and pilates. Pattie will also soon be an instructor at the upcoming cycling and rowing studio, Saddle Row. Pattie is a true multihyphenate, teaching in three fitness disciplines, in addition to being a hands on mother and wife, businesswoman and online media maven. So if you're wondering how to motivate yourself to work out when there seems to be far too much going on in life, perhaps Pattie's example and advice can help:

"With my hectic and crazy schedule, working out actually becomes my form of stress release. On the days that I feel lazy to exercise or practice (yoga), I remind myself that I need the 'ME' time. The precious hour or so when I don't think about the tasks to be done and my to-do list. It honestly helps me focus and keeps me energized throughout the day. In yoga, we call it 'Tapas' or self discipline to fuel your practice. It's not always easy but I just really try to DO IT even if I have to sometimes motivate myself through a simple treat afterwards. A bowl of chirashi or my favorite gyro always works for me."

Pattie dispenses advice on fitness and food through her A Slice of Pattie Youtube channel and blog. You can also follow Pattie for regular doses of fitspo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Roxy Francisco and I met in grade school, and while I fully recognize the bad ass spirit that she has always carried with her, I am nevertheless amazed and inspired at how she has used the challenges that have come her way into turning herself into her best possible version: Roxy Thunder, Independent Team Beachbody Coach. Roxy channels her own experience of overcoming personal and familial challenges with being overweight, food addictions and illnesses to help others get over their fitness hurdles and come to a place of health and happiness. Her advice digs in deep: 

"The main thing I found that has helped me stay motivated and dedicated to working out regularly (5-6 days a week since I always make sure I take an active rest day) is figuring out my WHY. This WHY is the reason why I decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle in the first place. When figuring out the WHY, it has to be something deeper than simply looking good, fitting in the right size, etc. It usually always starts with a goal such as fitting in a smaller size or looking good for an event such as a wedding, birthday, or vacation but goals like those are too superficial that it usually ends up in frustration and stress. A deeper WHY would be something more emotional and mentally rooted. Maybe it's not ending up obese or diabetic since it runs in your family. Perhaps it could be so you can feel more energetic to run with your kids. Maybe it's something such as to have a better sex life with your husband or wife or partner. It also can be more personal in terms of self confidence and being able to be feel more free and outgoing. All these WHYs can help create that mindset to start and most importantly stick to a workout and healthy eating plan. Consistency is key. One cannot remain motivated every single time but once you remember why you started in the first place, that will mentally push you to wake up everyday and workout. You may not enjoy lacing up for your workout or peeling yourself off that couch but once you get yourself started, it's easier to finish that workout and never have that feeling of regret afterwards. There is always a sense of pride at the end of each workout knowing that you're closer to your goals than you were 30 minutes or an hour earlier. Figure out your deeper WHY and write it down as well as say it out loud. Keep visual reminders of your WHY around your house, your office, and even in your phone. Fitness is more mental than physical. It's all about mindset. Set yourself up with success by simply figuring out your WHY and reminding yourself few times a day WHY you started with this new lifestyle."

For more Roxy Thunder goodness, check out roxythunderfitness.com, where you'll find detailed diet and workout information, as well as different ways to motivate yourself to make that lifestyle change. You can also follow Roxy Thunder on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

3 Steps to Stop Getting Screwed Over by Your Cable Company

This year when my internet and cable bill skyrocketed to $166, I finally found the motivation to drastically change this wallet-draining relationship. It necessitated leaping into unfamiliar tech waters, one I wasn't necessarily comfortable swimming in (despite what my IT degree and web design experience might imply). But I did it, and it decreased my expenses while improving my user experience. Basically, I think it is one of the best practical life decisions I've made this year. So I'm here to tell any tech change-weary gals out there that you, too, can be liberated and I'm sharing my experience with you in great detail to help you if you're looking into taking on this change. If you've had enough of constantly being squeezed by your cable company for cash, here are 3 steps to getting un-screwed:
3 Steps to Stop Getting Screwed Over by Your Cable Company
Step 1: Buy your own modem
Are you still using the modem brought by the technician the day internet and cable were installed in your home? If so, you may have already paid for that modem 20 times over through the monthly rental and servicing fees your cable company charges you. I bought the exact same modem from Amazon for $21.95, roughly the price of 2 months of Time Warner Cable's rental price. It may not come with the same service guarantee as their rental but given the high rental cost, you're better off buying a new one should you have tech issues. When the modem arrived, I installed it rather easily, only needing to call TWC at the tail end to help me configure it. It was relatively painless to install and cut down my bill by over $100 per year. Do watch your bill like a hawk, however, because I later noticed that TWC continued charging me for the rental even though I had already returned it. I called to complain and got a refund, but know that this can happen so watch out that you don't continue being charged. 

Step 2: Call to get a better deal 
The quickest way to do this is to call up the cable company and say that you would like to cut your cable service because the cost is too high. The customer service representative will immediately go into customer retention mode and throw a number of discounts at you just to keep your business. If you are emotionally attached to your DVR (like I was for a long time), you can stop at this step and already get a far better deal than what you would get from being an uncomplaining and loyal customer. By the time I handed over my DVR for good, the customer service representative had offered to reduce my bill by $50 but I was done. As far as I'm concerned, a company that takes advantage of its more loyal customers by jacking up your bill the longer you stay is not one that deserves my business. If you've reached this point, as well, you're ready for the next step. 

Step 3: Cut the cord and join the wonderful world of streaming media
Start by figuring out which streaming device is right for you. The main players right now are AppleTV, Amazon Fire TVGoogle Chromecast and Roku. This article helped me figure out that Roku was the best choice for me because it is impervious to content provider wars. I am both an Apple user and an Amazon Prime subscriber so I wanted to make sure I could easily access both, and Roku offers that flexibility. If you decide to take this route, you'll need to buy a RokuSling TV offers a discounted Roku 3 if you sign up for their service, which I wish I knew prior to buying my own! 

For the un-tech savvy, let me give you a few more hints as I had to do a lot of Googling to find information and would have been happy to find it in one place:

Hint 1: The Roku doesn't come with an HDMI cable. Amazon sells it bundled with the $5 Amazon HDMI cable and it works well. You can also buy this cable separately if you buy your Roku elsewhere.

Hint 2: You will need to fiddle with your TV's input to see the Roku interface for the first time. Hit "Input" on your TV remote (not the cable box remote you've been using all these years). Your cable box is probably set to HDMI 1; your Roku will then be on HDMI 2. When you remove the cable box, your Roku should automatically shift to HDMI 1.

Hint 3: The Roku 3 and HDMI cable are compatible with a 2012 Sony Bravia (I'm throwing that out in case there are other poor souls out there specifically Googling this before making the purchase, because I did).

Hint 4: If you're not interested in a voice-controlled remote control or playing games, save $20 and buy the Roku 2 instead.

Hint 5: If you want to have an idea of what to expect when you call Time Warner Cable to cancel, Peter Shankman live tweeted the worse case scenario in hilarious detail. TWC must have learned from this because my experience was much more painless and took only about 15 minutes, so don't fear. Do note that your service will be cut off within seconds of ending your call.

Hint 6: If you're about to return your cable box but can't remember for the life of you what it came with, take a look at this. Note that the technician may not have given you all these cables (my DVR only came with a power cord and HDMI cable) but this will at least help you figure out which cables in the spaghetti knot hanging off the back of your TV probably need to go back to the cable company.

Hint 7: If you live in New York and are cutting the cord specifically with Time Warner Cable, I highly recommend returning your cable box to the 23rd Street location first thing in the morning. I went at 9am and was in and out in about 5 minutes. I've been to their previous location before for modem return and my recent experience was definitely much quicker and more pleasant.

Hint 8: Now that you've entered the wonderful world of apps, are you at a loss on which ones to subscribe to? Netflix is easy as it's basically reason #1 for entering the world of streaming media. Once you start watching Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Narcos on your TV, you will feel that all this has been worth it. Sling TV is necessary if you're a live news junkie like me with a need to keep CNN on in the background (I know, it's sadistic and I'm not proud of it okay?) and/or if you're a sports fan very much unlike me. Hulu is vital if you love Mindy like I do and need to know how Danny's India trip panned out. If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, you'll have immediate access to Prime Video and Prime Music, which is a wonderful thing. Spotify Premium subscribers are able to play music through their Roku, too.

So, are you ready to get un-screwed? Godspeed and see you on the other side!