New York Lifestyles Magazine April 2024 Maryellen Derr

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indulge Call it spring or call it spa season. Either way, it’s time to visit New York’s Sullivan Catskills. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and our charming small towns are springing to life. Get outdoors on two feet or two wheels; we have dozens of trails. Indulge in our spas or exercise studios. Dine on our Catskill-icious food and sip on our craft beverages. Stay in a full-service resort, intimate inn, glamping dome, or a luxury treehouse. Mini vacays… longer stays, or anything in between — we’re just a short trip away. 1.800.882.CATS PLAN YOUR VISIT NOW! 2ND ANNUAL CATSKILL CUISINE FOOD FESTIVAL: MAY 10-12 OUTLAW MUSIC FESTIVAL, LUKE BRYAN, PHISH: BETHEL WOODS CENTER FOR THE ARTS This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. ®I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.
4 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | APRIL 2024 50 51 55 35 West 15th Street: Let There Be Light! 1212 Fifth Avenue: History, Culture & Beautiful View Your Home: Smart Ways To Go Green From The Publisher Stella: A Beacon Of Hope For Mental Health Maryellen Derr: Bringing Delectable Sweetness To Life Through The Lens: Photography By Annie Watt Profile: Rosella Rago 8 10 16 21 29 Life & Style: Fresh & Breezy For The Spring The 2024 Cadillac XT4 33 35 Hard Rock Hotel New York The Galapagos Islands: Basking In The Equatorial Sun Kauai: Nature At Its Best The Millbrook Inn: Luxury In The Hudson Valley Turkish Delights: Yachts, Culture & Plenty of History 37 38 40 45 48 FEATURES STYLE TRAVEL REAL ESTATE & YOUR HOME 16 Contents ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 61 63 65 67 71 Kosher Wines For Passover OCTO: A New Star Shines In Koreatown Great Bites: The Taste Of Passover & Earth Day Great Bites: Celebrate the 150th Derby At Home Discover Selene: Lower Manhattan’s Newest Greek Spot 72 73 74 75 76 BroadwayHD: A Nod To William Shakespeare Spotlight On Stage: Sarah Hutton On The Big Screen On The Small Screen From The Bookshelf: Spring Release For Avid Readers Mindie’s Musings: Keep Your Heart & Mind Open Emerson Spa: A Therapeutic Experience In The Catskills 57 58 Entrepreneur’s Corner: Dr. Letitia Wright My New York Story: Lucy Woodward Time Out With…Catherine Tyson-Sewall Sean Patrick M. Hillman: The Final Word 83 85 89 90 HEALTH & WELLNESS NEW YORK, NY FOOD & DRINK 71 40 10 Dogs Are An Exercise Machine…,With Hair Every Day Is A Training Exercise For Dog Parents 79 80 PET LIFESTYLES



There is nothing like Spring and Fall in our fair city. Both New York City and New York State have long been destinations for people seeking beauty and fun during the seasons that bookend Summer. From Cherry Blossoms blooming to various fruit picking seasons beginning to that feeling in the air that everything is going to be alright, Spring in our city and state is an amazing thing. It is also the time of year when our pet population begins to explode with kitten and puppy season arriving. And that is not a good thing right now considering how low the current pet adoption rates are.

Animal Care Centers of New York City (ACC) had to halt intakes recently because they have too many animals in their care already. The same is true of MANY of our local shelters. The problem is not ACC. The problem is that between inflation, the highest cost of living in the country, and an uncertain socioeconomic future for our state, potential adopters are understandably worried and are not willing to spend the money right now. This also effects return rates as folks who may have adopted recently are finding themselves faced with higher food and veterinary bills, resulting in a significant number returning their adoptees back to shelters and rescues. But there are programs in place to help you financially keep your pet, from vet vouchers to food donation programs to even toy donations. Places like ACC and Best Friends Animal Society have a lot of resources available to adopters that can help.

I encourage each and every one of you to go to www. to learn about how you can help our friends at Animal Care Centers of NYC and help save our furrever ones. Or, for Best Friends Animal Society. Remember: Adopt. Foster. Donate. Volunteer. Stay pawesome!

Vol. 10 #4 | April 2024

President / Publisher BILL MASON

Co-Publisher/Managing Editor SEAN-PATRICK M.


Patricia Canole


Bonnie Comley

Health & Wellness

Anne Akers

Art Director

Scott Cuollo


Jenny Peters

Special Projects

Norah Bradford

Chief Photographer


Alexandra Anastasio, Mindie Barnett, Melanie Carden, AP Connolly, Jenna Guarneri, Stewart F. Lane, Irvina Lew, Darren Paltrowitz, Karen Michele Parziale, Anne Raso, Pippa Roberts, Jeff & Stephanie Sylva, Annie Watt, Pamela Smythe Woods


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Maryellen Derr

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ISSN 2474-770X
rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without written permission of this publisher. Printed in the USA. New York Lifestyles is published 10 times a year. ©2024 New York Lifestyles Magazine. COVER CREDITS

As the seasons transition towards warmer weather and longer days, heralding the arrival of April, this issue of New York Lifestyles Magazine spotlights trailblazers and changemakers.

In the issue, you’ll meet Rossella Rago, who wears many hats and has quite a following on Instagram with her Italian-inspired recipes that even your grandmother will take notice of. The celebrated figure in the culinary world, Rossella is an award-winning Italian American cookbook author, entrepreneur, and charismatic host. With an impressive background, including titles such as The Cooking with Nonna Cookbook, Cooking with Nonna: A Year of Italian Holidays, and Cooking with Nonna: Sunday Dinners, Rossella has solidified her place as a prominent voice in Italian cuisine. You’ll love her story.

We also celebrate luxury in all things—the luxury of time to live beautifully, the luxury of enjoying the best of the best, and the luxury of surrounding yourself with the ones you love. Be sure to look at some memorable escapeworthy travel to savor the luxurious simplicity of cultures and cuisines.

All this plus our monthly features of Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, and the latest of what’s happening at the movie theater and streaming on screen is what makes the April issue so special.

Publishing NYLM is a luxury to me and an honor curating content for you. I appreciate all the notes and messages sharing how you are enjoying NYLM. We work to put our best foot forward with every issue, presenting captivating content with stunning imagery.

In a world where we see each other less these days, I hope these stories bring us closer. With our website, digital flipbook, and social media platforms, there’s no reason not to stay in touch.

We love what we do and are beyond committed to inspiring you to live the best you can and make the most of each day.

See you next issue…

Check us out on the web! Read Any of Our Issues In Digital Format on: | Apple Newsstand | Our Website Visit us at:  (646) 259-2651 For subscription or back issues, call: DRINK TOAST THE HOLIDAY GUIDE BONUS GIFTS HEALTH MYTHS FACT JACQUES LIEBERMAN A CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST



In the bustling heart of Manhattan lies a sanctuary of solace and healing known as Stella. Nestled within the fabric of the city, this facility stands as a beacon of hope for those grappling with the complexities of mental health challenges. With its innovative approach and unwavering commitment to holistic care, Stella has emerged as a transformative force in the landscape of mental health services.

Stella is more than just a treatment facility; it is a sanctuary designed to nurture the mind, body, and spirit. From the moment one steps through its doors, they are embraced in an atmosphere of compassion and inclusivity. Every aspect of this trauma-informed environment is carefully curated to cultivate serenity and solace, with soothing hues, lush greenery, and thoughtfully chosen furnishings embracing visitors with warmth and comfort.

© Stella

“Stella’s mission goes far beyond building a network of trusted clinics,” said co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Gershenzon. “We’re setting a new standard for care that provides personalized trauma-informed care that combines cutting-edge biological interventions with seamless psychological support.”

What sets Stella apart is its holistic approach to mental health care. Recognizing that mental well-being is intricately connected to physical health, Stella offers a comprehensive range of services tailored to address everyone’s unique needs. Treatment by Stella is just one aspect of the healing journey. By pairing biological interventions with psychological interventions, the result can be life-changing.

Stella’s treatment protocols are created to meet a person’s needs before, during, and after treatment, which is the new model of trauma treatment. It’s what people in need of relief deserve.

Moreover, Stella has been—and always will be—dedicated to fostering medical innovation and knowledge-sharing within the mental health community. Through partnerships with leading researchers, advocacy organizations, and other institutions, the company remains at the forefront of advancements in the field by furthering medical literature, breaking down societal stigmas and setting new standards for care that prioritizes patient outcomes.


Central to Stella’s philosophy is the belief that those suffering from severe post-traumatic stress injury, anxiety and depression deserve the best care that modern neuroscience and psychological expertise can deliver. In a world where stigma and shame are a barrier to seeking care, Stella offers a safe and empathetic space where individuals can find hope again. The clinicians at Stella Center New York are not just experts in their field; they are compassionate allies who walk alongside their clients on the journey toward healing.

One of the hallmarks of Stella’s approach is its emphasis on evidencebased care. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all mentality, medical and mental health experts collaborate with clients to develop personalized treatment plans based on individuals desired outcomes. “When accounting for medical, biological, psychological, and social factors, we can provide options that give each person the best chance possible at feeling better long-term,” adds Amanda Vogel, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Stella New York.

Whether it’s resetting an overactive nervous systems, rebuilding neuron pathways, creating healthier habits or learning how to navigate life in a calm body, clients are empowered to take ownership of their mental health journey and make meaningful changes in their lives following treatment. As Stella progresses and expands, its dedication to excellence and compassion remains steadfast. In a time where the demand for mental health support is increasing, Stella serves as a symbol of hope, extending a helping hand to those seeking assistance and guiding them towards healing, well-being and wholeness.

We recently visited the experts at Stella New York’s office to find out more about their innovative treatments.

Who is Stella?

Stella is an Interventional Psychiatry practice focused on providing patients with the most effective mental health protocols out there for anxiety, depression, and PTSI (Post-Traumatic Stress Injury).

Stella understands the complexities of mental health challenges and the importance of finding treatments that work. Unlike traditional approaches that often rely solely on medication or therapy alone, Stella combines advanced neuroscience with holistic care, aiming for a comprehensive solution tailored to each individual needs. Cutting-edge biological interventions include the Dual Sympathetic Reset Stellate Ganglion Block (DSR SGB), Ketamine Infusion Therapy, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) —with targeted, short term psychological support following treatment.

Instead of just managing your symptoms, Stella targets and treats the physical source of the symptoms with the aim to eliminate the needless suffering caused by debilitating symptoms and provide long-awaited healing.

© Stella

What types of mental health conditions and symptoms does Stella target?

Stella is designed to address a wide range of mental health symptoms that are associated with anxiety, trauma, depression, and posttraumatic stress injury. Each of these conditions have symptoms that are commonly linked to one another, making it difficult for some to articulate or identify what they’re experiencing. That’s why Stella›s team of board-certified physicians, advanced practice providers and psychologists will inquire, listen, discern medical contraindications and determine the most suitable care journey for each person.

Trauma is a human universal truth and each person›s experience is unique. The most common symptoms patients report are issues sleeping, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, problems connecting with loved ones, loss of joy or interest in things they used to love and more.


PTSD became a mental health diagnosis in 1980 when the American Psychiatric Association (APA) added the term to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). It is a serious mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event or microdoses of stress over a period. However, several trauma experts and military groups recognize that the current term does not accurately reflect the nature of the condition as an injury to the brain vs. a disorder and sadly the stigma of a mental disorder keeps many people from seeking help.

PTSI, deemed a more accurate term, recognizes that the condition is not a disorder, but rather an injury that can be treated as such. No matter how big or small trauma is perceived to be, it can create a cascade of biological changes that produce an overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system. While invisible to the naked eye, the changes are measurable and can be seen on an advanced brain scan. PTSI can be treated by a doctor.

What is the Dual Sympathetic Reset?

The Dual Sympathetic Reset treatment is used to help people get relief from symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress. DSR is an advanced SGB protocol where a local anesthetic is injected next to a collection of the sympathetic nerves in two separate places. This collection of nerves is associated with the sympathetic nervous system which regulates many involuntary functions like heart rate, blood pressure and sweating.

DSR temporarily numbs an area that transmits norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline, to the brain. While the area is temporarily numbed, not only can the transmission of adrenaline decrease, but also begin to heal itself by “pruning” extra nerve endings.

This allows for the body to return to a state of calm, similar to turning a computer off and back on again.

© Ana Miyares

How does Ketamine Therapy work?

Stella’s Ketamine Treatment Sessions are guided by their responsible innovation approach. Patients are directly medically monitored during their treatments, which is administered intravenously or intranasally, for controlled and monitored dosing and care.

Ketamine can repair damage caused by cortisol and other long-term stress hormones that affect the brain›s communication system. Treatment can help neurons commute with each other along with creating new pathways, which support mood, thought patterns, and cognition.

How does Stella integrate into traditional mental health treatments?

Stella works in collaboration with traditional behavioral health services by providing an additional avenue for holistic care. Biological treatments work alongside, and in support of, long-term therapy, mindfulness, medication, or other interventions, depending on the individual›s needs and preferences.

Following biological treatment and short-term integration therapy, many people find more success in therapy after treatment because they show up to appointments with a clear mind and calm body.

In collaboration with traditional behavioral health services, Stella helps patients find the right mix of therapies, biological treatments, mindfulness exercises, supplement recommendations and so on to set people up for long term success.

Stella is dedicated to innovating like lives depend on it, because they do. Since launching four years ago, the company has been dedicated to revolutionizing the approach to mental health care, positioning itself as the premier destination for individuals seeking holistic, transformative, and comprehensive care. Led by a team of boardcertified physicians and experts in both medical and mental health fields, Stella has provided care for over 8,500 patients. With +20 locations spanning across the United States, as well as in Israel and Australia, Stella also has six Centers of Excellence in Westmont (IL), Irvine (CA), Washington D.C., New York City (NY), San Diego (CA), and Boston (MA). For further details about Stella, please visit

© Stella

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Time and time again, we have all heard the story about the inventor who hit it big after working out of their garage for years, dedicated to their passion or craft. Often these stories are perceived to be an overnight success, when we all know it took years for them to get there. Think about Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Both started working out of their garages and created two of the largest tech and consumer packaged goods companies in history. The same, and much more, can honestly be said about Maryellen Derr, the woman behind Maryellen’s cakepops on QVC.

They say out of adversity can come opportunity. For Maryellen, truer words were never spoken outside of Philadelphia in Delaware County. It all started when Maryellen was a little girl helping her Nanny in the kitchen. At the age of seven her parents divorced, and at age ten her father was killed in an accident. That same year, her mother got re-married to a gentleman that Maryellen refers to as Popason. According to Maryellen, he was the best thing to enter into their lives. For her mother, in raising her and her brother, he was the Rock of Gibraltar for their family. They rarely ate out and virtually every meal was homemade; creating lasting, fun memories around the kitchen table. While helping her Nanny, the future baker would be covered in flour and sugar much of her childhood as making desserts was a favorite for the future entrepreneur. Fast forward to when she graduated from high school, entering college to study occupational therapy. She was asked by a family friend to make a Winnie The Pooh cake from scratch. She hasn’t looked back since. “When I made that first cake, I was like, this is fun! I am artistic and have an eye for making fun, delicious things,” remembered Maryellen.

A few years after she started College, her stepfather had fallen ill. Without question, Maryellen left to return home to help support her family. She never returned. Instead, Maryellen setup shop in her kitchen, cranking out cakes and orders for weddings, country clubs and local businesses. A few years later, her stepfather passed away.

At the age of 33, Maryellen sought a brick-and-mortar location for her business. And on her birthday in 2011, she signed the lease for her first storefront. Even local sports teams like the Phillies, Flyers and Baltimore Orioles were hiring Maryellen for her custom cakes and cake pops.

Maryellen’s was on a significant growth trajectory. Her shop was playing host to everything from Santa Claus appearances at Christmas time to the Easter Bunny at Easter to a constant flow of brides walking in her doors to order her delicious cakes. It had seemed that Maryellen’s life had finally taken the turn she so desperately wanted.

In 2007, her mother was diagnosed, at the age of 55, with early onset dementia. Realizing the depths of what dementia means in terms of treatment and time, Maryellen held her head up high and soldiered on to continue helping support her family. She also became a huge supporter of the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Maryellen focused on her business when she wasn’t caring for her mother. So much so that she was already outgrowing her production facility. Her sales were literally selling through her inventory every week.


This led Maryellen to begin expanding her production line so that she could accommodate larger orders and could produce more of her topselling product, cake pops. As a matter of fact, her cake pops were selling at such high levels, her longterm plan was to convert her entire business to cake pops, forsaking custom cakes and cookies. But faced with how many regular customers she was servicing with her award-winning custom cakes; it just didn’t make sense at the time. So rather than simply relying on individual product sales and custom orders to grow her business, Maryellen focused on securing wholesale accounts with country clubs and restaurants in her trading area.

Then, once again, nine years ago, tragedy struck. Her mother had fallen, breaking her ankle and foot. The resulting surgery sped up the progression of her disease, shortly after passing with her children by her side. That is when fate truly knocked on her door.

QVC had reached out about her popular cake pops. However, between running her business and caring for her mother, Maryellen knew there was no way she was going to be able to fulfill the orders associated with a QVC program. As difficult as that was for her at the time, she made the right decision for her business and her family. So, Maryellen declined the opportunity, chalking it up to one of those life lessons where family comes first.

And family is where Maryellen has always drawn strength and inspiration. With her mother having passed away, all Maryellen had left for family was her brother, Bill, whom she has always been close to, and Bill’s wife, Kim. They have been an enormous part of her life, always providing unconditional love. And what they had endured as a family only made that bond stronger.


In 2015, Maryellen learned, as she says, “I enjoy cooking just as much as baking.” She was challenged by some of her culinary counterparts in the community to participate in a chili cookoff. The culinary maverick decided she wanted to put her own spicy spin on her recipe. Knowing that she needed to come up with a name for herself as a competitor, she created Evil Sweetness as her moniker. Calling on both of her talents, Maryellen combined sweet and savory into her entry, a candied jalapeno cheddar bacon cupcake over chili. The secret ingredient? Fresh ghost pepper raw honey. And she won first place!

With everything that had happened in the last six months, Maryellen decided to take some time to focus on restoring balance to her personal and professional lives. Time off allowed her the space to return to her more creative instincts - drawing, writing, and entering local competitions. The Pennsylvania native even went all the way to an audition for The Food Network’s Halloween Wars.

Her heart has always been in supporting others in need. This is true especially when it comes to creating more awareness for local and national charities and foundations through her sweet desserts. And Maryellen has earned many awards and accolades for her support of, and commitment to, the community.

When COVID-19 pandemic closed businesses, she feared her dreams were really dashed. Unable to secure a hasty PPO loan or any kind of government funding to stay afloat, Maryellen lost all of her staff. That meant the shop owner needed to be on her feet all day, every day, staying creative in order to keep her doors open. Thankfully, Maryellen’s had secured enough wholesale customers by this time to pay her bills, saving her business from closure.

Once COVID came to an end, Maryellen found herself in an odd position. Not only was finding talent to work in her shop difficult, she was faced with something she never thought would be a problem. As Maryellen put it, “With every Tom, Dick and Harry thinking they are Betty Crocker because they watched YouTube to make bread, cakes and cupcakes, all of a sudden the world re-opened and I was faced with a lot of local competition.” Thankfully that problem resolved itself in short order as most of those would-be bakers eventually returned to their real jobs when they weren’t able to make a living out of their own make-shift home bakeries. Needless to say, Maryellen’s has not had a day where they had inventory left over since.


Then, in December of 2022, fate granted Maryellen another bite at the apple. In a rare instance, QVC reapproached her about featuring her cake pops on their network. Rebranded as simply “Maryellen’s Cakepops,” this Jane of All Trades made her first appearance on QVC during their Christmas in July program. She sold through her entire inventory in eight minutes.

One would think that tragedy and business problems were in Maryellen’s rearview mirror. Since then, Maryellen has become a soughtafter regular on the network, selling through for Christmas 2023, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day 2024 and Easter of this year.

This headstrong and determined entrepreneur isn’t even close to slowing down. Maryellen is launching a new clothing line soon called Evil Sweetness and is launching Aunt Mares Cookies which will incorporate a sandwich cookie inside a variety of flavored cookies. She has been working on her memoir, hoping to inspire others through adversity, as well as a cookbook.

Despite all odds, Maryellen has persevered at every aspect of her life when darkness befell her family or her business. In the truest sense of the word, Maryellen Derr is tenacious. Just wait until you see what she does next. To learn more about Maryellen and her business, visit




Deborah Royce, Chuck Royce Chuck Royce, Chris Levine, Diana Kemppainen Diana Kemppainen, Catharina Nystrom Elliott, Tina Necrason Diana Kemppainen, Courtney Celeste Spears Jordan Rhodes, Noah Rhodes Michel Witmer, Alease Fisher Tallman Sophie Wynne, Tess Forester, Tom Wynne Vicki Levine, Chris Levine
CAROLINA HERRERA SIP AND SHOP TO BENEFIT FIT Yaz Hernandez, Jean Shafiroff, Sharon Jacob, Eleanora Kennedy, Sarah J. Wetenhall, Julie Macklowe Dallas Dalton, Coleman McCartan Dallas Dalton, Eleanora Kennedy, Susan Quinn Eleanora Kennedy, Julie Macklowe, Sarah J. Weterhall Jill Schecter, Kathy Georgas, Amanda Polk Kim Butenhoff, Zara, Georgia Jacob, Sharon Jacob Stephanie Gates, David Glickman Susan Quinn, Susan Dunlevy, Sharon Jacob, Geogria Jacob


Kara Mimun, Clement Mimun, Helmut Koller, Bonnie Edwards Neha Dani, Catherine Adler Alice Ryan, Amy Hoadley Andrew Sneath, Camilla Webster, Helmut Koller Helmut Koller, Maureen Fryes, John Fryes Laura Opdebaker, Dee Dameo, Rochele Ohstrom Robin Baker Leacock, Sydney Mckelvy, Peter McKelvy, Robert Leacock Z. Mesaric, Sylvia Rice Mesaric, Guy Beaumont Palmer


Erin McGould, Anka Palitz, Brandie Herbst Steven Caras, Colleen Smith Anthony Lomangino, Lynda Lomangino David McClymont, Scott Diament Harrison Morgan, Valerie Cooper, Harry Cooper Jim Verrant, Jan Hanniford, Christine Ansbacher, Max Ansbacher Joy Marks, Alan Marks, Lexye Aversa Kim Renk, Jean Shafiroff, Paul De Qeumoy, Nadia Gonchar


Bob Murray, Lauren Bush Lauren, Sharon Bush Lauren Bush Lauren, Karen Klopp Dave Granville, Sharon Bush, Pamala Wright, Jeff Pfeifle Eleanora Kennedy, Pamela Fiori, Michel Witmer Ginny Sydorick, Audrey Gruss, Grace Meigher, Elizabeth Meigher Sharon Bush, Lauren Bush Lauren, Whitney Schott, Christine Schott Sharon Bush, Lenny Lauren Susan Magrino, Pamela Taylor Yates, Pamela Morgan, Robin Baker Leacock


Robin Baker Leacock, Mary Hilliard, Robert Caravaggi Robin Baker Leacock, Eleanora Kennedy Stephanie Gates, Terry Duffy John Irwin, Chris Meigher, Grace Meigher, Whitney Douglass, Maria-Flora Smoller Richard Johnson, Jayne Chase Cailla Webster, Catherine Carey, Meg McCartney, James McCartney Mary Hilliard, Darren Henault Jennifer Charlston, Catherine Carey, Jean Shafiroff, Meg McCartney, Alex Hamer, Mary Hilliard, Wendy Moonan



Rossella Rago is a celebrated figure in the culinary world, an award-winning Italian American cookbook author, entrepreneur, and charismatic host. With an impressive background, including titles such as The Cooking with Nonna Cookbook, Cooking with Nonna: A Year of Italian Holidays, and Cooking with Nonna: Sunday Dinners, Rossella has solidified her place as a prominent voice in Italian cuisine.

As the host of the online cooking show and food webisode series  Cooking with Nonna, Rossella brings the warmth of traditional Italian cooking to audiences worldwide. Rossella won in the intense Food Network’s  24-Hour Restaurant Battle: Italiano Battle, displaying her culinary prowess and innovative spirit. Beyond her culinary ventures, Rossella’s enterprising spirit shines through her role as the curator of, where she designs and presents an array of apparel, cookware, and retail products.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Rossella and discuss her passion and dedication to preserving and sharing the traditions of Italian cuisine and culture.

As young children, we all dream of what we want to be when we grow up. What was yours?

As a child, I dreamt of being a fashion designer. My mother is an artist, and Nonna spent most of her life as a seamstress. So, I loved to sketch and give my Nonna projects to bring to life. We worked together on my Communion dress! I remember shopping with my mother for these super expensive luxe dresses and not realizing that we were not in the right position to buy them. So, she let me design one instead, and it became a reality. Through my apparel line, I am fulfilling that childhood dream.

As a first-generation Italian American, how has your family culture influenced your entrepreneurial and influencer journey?

Being the child of immigrants and growing up in New York endows you with this unique work ethic. I have always had a hustle mentality because I didn’t understand that there could be any other way to exist. Being raised in Brooklyn, New York, I was surrounded by many hard-working people. I had no choice but to adapt to that mentality as my own. I think one of the reasons I have been able to sustain such a long career has been because I view success very differently. The top of one mountain is just the bottom of another.

Your online persona is seen as fun, relatable, and filled with valuable advice. How do you see this making an impact on your audience?

No one was more surprised when my advice content started taking off. It was something that I was purely doing for fun. I did have a moment where I paused and asked if I even had any business telling anyone what to do. I am 36. I am divorced. Why should people listen to me? But I also know that I’ve lived, loved, lost, and learned so much along that way that maybe some people haven’t, so why not me? Meaningful conversations come from seeing yourself in someone else sometimes. It took me a long time to be comfortable with who I am and able to reach women from a place of confidence.

Courtesy of Rosella Rago

As a three-time author, share your journey from book one to three and the unique perspective you share in each.

I was offered my first book deal via Facebook Messenger, which remains one of my life’s most serendipitous moments. An editor from Racepoint Publishing reached out. She thought I had already authored a book and was surprised I had not! She offered me my first book deal. Writing books is a lot like having a baby. You care for it and nurture it for months and months until it comes into the world. I did put my heart and soul into my first book. I interviewed thirty different grandmothers. I wrote at the same booth at the same  Panera Bread daily. I was more involved in every detail than the publisher wanted me to be. After all, this was my baby. With my second book, Cooking with Nonna: Holidays, I had a little more flexibility, and with my third book, Cooking with Nonna: Sunday Dinners with La Famiglia, I had a literary agent and total creative control. Each one of them made me a better writer and an even better woman.

Your Nonna Romana has profoundly impacted shaping who you are today. How has her influence impacted your career and personal life?

My relationship with my Nonna Romana remains one of the most formative of my entire life. In Italian culture, a Nonna can love you in all the ways a mother is too tired to. It was her unconditional love and support that gave me strength and perspective through my darkest moments. Whenever things get hard, I try to reflect on her life. She was widowed at 29 with two small children and forced to immigrate to several countries in search of a better life. She is my hero.

Sunday dinner is a particular part of Italian culture. How does it contribute to maintaining family traditions and connections?

Sunday dinners are a chance to reconnect and reset. They are paramount in an Italian family, but they serve a purpose for all of humanity. One day, committed to connection, food, and family is integral to our welfare.

You host the online cooking show and food webisode series  Cooking with Nonna. What motivated you to start this series?

Oddly enough, I’m not sure it was any motivation as much as inertia. I was chatting at the dinner table with my dad and Nonna one night, and everyone had presumed I would be an Italian teacher, which I knew in my heart was not my calling. That’s when, from the depths of my soul, I blurted out I’ll have a cooking show instead. And so, it was.

You also design and curate apparel, cookware, and retail products. Tell us more.

Whenever I design something, I set out to fill a void. If not designing something outright, I set out to find the highest quality products from Italy for my beloved audience. Innovation and creativity are born from necessity.

As a female entrepreneur who champions women, why do you believe economic empowerment and striving for financial independence are crucial?

Economic empowerment breeds stability, opportunity, access, and choice. Women deserve to be supported and cared for by someone; it should never be out of necessity. Our most sacred obligation in life is to honor and care for ourselves first so that we may sow many creative seeds for others.

Can you share some insights into building your brand identity and how it reflects your values?

If I have learned anything, people value authenticity more than anything else. I remember when I was starting, I didn’t believe that there was a place in the media for someone like me. It was the dawn of the content creator era, and no one on YouTube making cooking content looked like me. They certainly didn’t sound like me. So, for a long time, I tried to create a character based on who I thought people wanted to see in this space. An agent told me to hide the Brooklyn if I wanted to work in this business. I worked hard to obscure the parts of me that I thought were just too much to be relatable. It turns out I was wrong, and that agent was too. Sharing the saucier side of myself was not easy at first, but it has been the best thing for my overall brand and business. Do you lose a few people along the way? Sure, but that is the funny thing about growth. Not everyone is going to grow in the same direction.

For more information on Rossell Rago, follow her on Instagrm @rossellrago




Swap out the flannel sheets and throw open those windows—it’s Spring! The crocus flowers are always a little reminder that it’s time to embrace the season, so I always refresh things in April. In addition to signing up for farm-fresh CSA veggies, I add new warm weather pieces to my wardrobe and double-down on my birdwatching efforts. Of course, this year, we’re also getting the magnificent celestial event—the solar eclipse. Later in the month, let’s celebrate Earth Day! So many things to look forward to—enjoy the vibrant colors and warm breezes ahead.


April 8 marks the unofficialyet-coolest holiday of 2024—the rare total solar eclipse. Those not taking the day off can still get into the spirit by adding a few themed accessories to the workday like this Cloth Covered Notepad by Designworks Ink Info:


This gorgeous Mongolian Gallery piece is created in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and the open knit weave and buttery color offer a heartfelt welcome to the spring season. The soft, casual tailoring is perfect for an elevated weekend look, and that extra burst of sunshine in the contrasting trim seals the deal.



This light and airy maxi single-handedly announces the arrival of Spring. The hand-blocked tulips, necklace-style tassel accents, and flutter sleeves make an elegantchic statement. The Lisa Midi Dress from BELL by Alicia Bell is perfect for garden parties, brunch, and beyond.



First, yes! You can snag a pair of classic Dr. Scholl’s clogs from back in the day, but I’m all about these vibrant grass-hued sneakers right now. As we transition from mud season to bright green parks, we can channel those feel-good vibes with these funky Velcro Daydreamer Sneakers. Info:



Birding season just got a big upgrade with Haikubox, the bird call identifier and bird song recognition system. Set it up wherever your birds gather—the balcony, patio, or yard—and learn about your many bird visitors. Get real-time updates, song identification, and images of your feathered friends.



Take the day off to hide out in the park with this Backgammon Wine Picnic Table from Mark & Graham. It’s shipped as a complete game set, and compact enough to pack for weekend getaways. Just add wine and glasses. Grab one for yourself or plan ahead for wedding season.



Available in eight colors, the Mid-Rise Pret-A-Pedi Crop Pants from White House Black Market are anchoring my spring wardrobe. The little button detail at the ankle elevates the look, and it’s easy to pair with sneakers or heels. Grab Robin’s egg blue, washed red, or classic white.



Collect all your fruit and veggie scraps and keep them out of sight in this ultra chic—and oh-so-cheerful—composter from Bamboozle Home. It’s offered in a dozen colors and includes a year’s worth of compostable hemp filters, which tamp down any potential odors. Usually, I just use a bowl, but couldn’t resist this cheery upgrade.



Even on cloudy days, these ILMN capris are pure joy. The Laylani Eden pant has a little kick flare hem, and the tuxedo stripe is as flattering as it is cute. Pair with your favorite bright top or go with all white accessories to let the flowers take center stage. Info:


Unstructured denim will be everywhere this spring and summer—tie-waist and casual, the feel easy-going. This Easy Pant from Electric & Rose, a cotton and hemp blend, is a great mid-weight option—available in five hues—with lay-flat carpenter pockets and an abbreviated paper bag-style waist.



This is the one. Everyone has that one warm weather dress that ends up being their go-to for everything from weddings to vacations and date nights. White House Black Market’s Sleeveless V-Neck Braided Waist Maxi Dress promises comfort with a wide elastic waist and your shoe options are endless.



Villeroy & Boch’s classic Boston goblets are enough to carry the entire tablescape. Even with neutral linen and plate, this pop of color and hobnail texture are an elegant exclamation point, of sorts. This apricot color is lovely, but you may choose from rose, lavender, green, or smoky blue.




Cadillac, that venerable General Motors marquee that has been a luxury brand since 1909, knows it must move with the times. So, despite still being famous for its gigantic, ultraluxurious Escalade SUV, the company is also manufacturing a full line of smaller, lessexpensive sports utility vehicles—ones that still have that elevated opulence that defines it.

Sliding into the driver’s seat of the subcompact 2024 Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury iteration, it wasn’t surprising to find comfortable, fully adjustable leather seats with the option of remembering different driver’s preferences at the touch of a programming button. Those seats will give you a massage, too, and heat, both welcome amenities on long drives and in cold weather. The XT4 is the smallest SUV Cadillac makes, but it still has its share of high-end features.


Like other luxury-level SUVs in its class, the Cadillac XT4 is outfitted with numerous features that the car controls (rather than the driver). In some cases, those features are beneficial, while in others, incredibly annoying.

The fascinatingly helpful features include the “IntelliBeam” LED headlights, which automatically adjust from low to high as the car senses the available light, and the self-adjusting windshield wipers, which speed up or slow down depending on the rain/ sleet/snow that is falling.

The side-mirror blind spot indicators of vehicles beside are invaluable, and the programmable, hands-free liftgate allows easy access to the back cargo area, which is usually 22.5 cubic feet (and expands to 49.8 when the three-person back seating is lowered). The rear backup camera is also useful, as is cruise control, of course.

But when the XT4 decides to vehemently buzz your driver’s seat butt and flash red lights in front of your face when there is no discernible danger anywhere in sight, that’s the moment you realize that some new self-driving helping hands (that’s the “Safety Alert Seat” feature) need to be turned off. And we’re not fans of the built-in “Speed Limit Assist” either, nor the “Automatic Braking” that happens going forward and in reverse, often when there’s no reason for it to engage.


The Cadillac XT4 cockpit is full of bells and whistles, beginning with the curved 33-inch, brilliantly hued touchscreen LED display that sweeps an astonishing design across the dashboard as you slide into the driver’s seat.

With a navigation map that makes it easy to see a wide swath of the route and AM/FM and Sirius XM radio stations belting out sound from the 14-speaker AKG sound system (upgrade to Bose technology for a top-of-the-line listening experience), it’s an inside experience that satisfies.

Add wireless device charging, four USB ports, and Cadillac’s signature OnStar safety and security system, which allows connection to a human being at the touch of a button whenever trouble happens, and the vehicle has just about anything you desire.

However, we’re not crazy about the gear-shifter handle, which unnecessarily complicates putting the SUV into Drive mode. The 2.0-liter twin-turbo I-4 engine is slow to accelerate, especially on freeway entrances. The gas mileage is 24mpg city/29 highway in a 15.9-gallon tank, so expect to fill up regularly, especially on an extended road trip.


Overall, especially once you’ve turned off the bottom seat buzz and other features that may not be pleasing, the 2024 Cadillac XT4 offers a lot of driving and seating comfort, interior passenger space, cargo room, and stylish exterior design to the subcompact SUV category.

For more information about the 2024 Cadillac XT4, visit




For a quintessentially excellent experience in the heart of the Big Apple, there’s nothing quite like staying at the Hard Rock Hotel New York. Its location alone makes the hotel a great spot for a home base on a New York City visit, sitting at the nexus of Manhattan on 48th Street, just off Seventh Avenue. Walk west for a nanosecond to Seventh, and you’re already in the heart of the Times Square beast, a few blocks from every Broadway theater’s front door. Walk east on 48th for less than two blocks, and Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral appear.


Meanwhile, the inside of the hotel is so inviting (and interesting) that you might want to stay in, at least for a while. What began as two guys opening a café in London is now a massive hospitality company known as Hard Rock International. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has owned Hard Rock International since 2007. That ownership includes the massive music memorabilia collection, which includes over 86,000 pieces, including instruments, clothing, costumes, and more.

It’s that collection that makes each hotel unique. It’s where rock ‘n’ roll lovers can get stopped short in a hallway, spotting a display wall dedicated to guitar legend Les Paul, complete with one of his “trademark turtlenecks.”

That specific wall is found in Hard Rock, New York, along with a spectacular everchanging costume display that greets guests as they enter the eye-popping two-story lobby atrium. Think Lady Gaga’s gowns, Rihanna’s glam leather looks, and other famous females’ fabulous stage outfits. Guitars are everywhere, including a massive collection of those over the hotel’s convivial  Sessions Restaurant & Bar that were once played by legends like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Bruce Springsteen. Find more seriously cool memorabilia on the 34th floor’s  RT60 Bar, with outdoor terraces and famed New York DJs spinning tunes.


Speaking of tunes, one of the hotel’s unique offerings for guests is the brand’s “Sound of Your Stay” program. First, book a night (or more) in one of the 446 rooms and suites at Hard Rock, and they will bring you a Crosley record player and some vinyl to play on it. And if you’re a budding rock guitarist, they’ll rustle up a Fender electric guitar to noodle on in your room. And since the hotel is dog friendly, you can sing the blues to your pooch if your sweetheart’s left you behind!

The rooms are surprisingly spacious for a midtown hotel, with high-end bed linens and an assortment of pillow choices. Sound-impervious windows keep the hustle and bustle noise to a minimum, and there’s a fully stocked minibar in case you’re ready for a little jam session. The hotel also boasts a workout gym, yoga classes, and concierge services designed to help guests snag those hard-to-score concert tickets, Broadway show seats, and coveted restaurant reservations.

As lifelong rock ‘n’ roll fans, it’s easy for us to love a New York stay at the Hard Rock Hotel, and you never know when a real rock star is going to pass you in the hall, for we hear that this ideally located luxury hotel is a place that well-known musicians like to call home, too.

For more information on Hard Rock Hotel New York, visit




It was my first full day traveling the Galapagos Islands on one of Ecoventura’s expedition yachts. I remembered to pack reef-friendly sunscreen and other essentials. But no one told me that a few tissues would also be required. Yes, the Galapagos Islands are stunning—it will bring you to tears. Less than twelve hours after boarding the yacht, I and my group embarked on our first on-shore excursion—an easy Cerro Brujo beach walk. Countless sea lions were lounging on the beach. Within minutes, sea lions surrounded me.

There I was, basking in the equatorial sun—with sea lions. I exhaled in a way I’d never experienced before. That is, until a mammoth bull made way for the water and nearly smooshed me like a grape. There are strict rules about keeping a safe distance, but the sea lions did not get this memo. And so began my Galapagos adventure.


Ecoventura’s three luxury expedition yachts, Origin, Theory, and Evolve, are part of the Relais & Châteaux family. The yachts exude a boutique feel with tremendous attention to detail. Each yacht is designed to accommodate twenty guests, making for a sea adventurers’ community, and allowing for unparalleled service. Guests want for nothing while on board—the staterooms are cleaned three times a day; the itinerary is stacked with chef-prepared meals and postactivity snacks and, of course, the bar is wellstocked and flowing.

The ten staterooms are an oasis with panoramic windows and breathtaking views. This applies to even the overhead rain showers—drenched in sunlight with frosted glass below and views of the water.

The cuisine is as gorgeous as it is abundant, and I was relieved and delighted by the attention to detail regarding food allergies and intolerances. The dominant theme is  fresh, with over half of the ingredients sourced from artisanal businesses based in the Islands. Executive Chef Francisco Vintimilla and staff collaborate with local farmers and prioritize sustainability. Guests are spoiled with plenty of seafood prepared expertly. Still, behind the scenes, important decisions are made to use local, sustainable  Brujo  (scorpion fish) rather than salmon, as well as spiny lobster and  Canchalagua (a shellfish) from local anglers.



Although they offer trip extensions, Ecoventura offers no standalone three or four-day trips. The thinking here is that such trips increase the overall volume of visitors—and carbon emissions—to the delicate and predominantly uninhabited islands. Eco, not just in name but in practice, Ecoventura was the first recipient of the SmartVoyager ecological certification and, in 2006, became the first carbon-neutral organization in Galapagos.

Every creature, grain of sand, and droplet of water within the Galapagos archipelago is protected by the rules of The Galapagos National Park, and this mission is evident in every activity and adventure during the week-long sailing. Each evening, the naturalist guides provide an overview of the upcoming adventures, including site-specific information on experiencing the immersive environment in a way that protects it for future generations.

The yacht sailed daily as part of the 8-day Beaches and Bays itinerary, including a dozen locations between islands such as San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana, and Santa Cruz. There were two expeditions each day and deep sea snorkeling most days, which were transformative.

Not a day has passed that I haven’t thought about floating faceto-face with sea lions and being fully enveloped in a school of iridescent parrotfish a thousand fish deep. Snorkeling alone is reason enough to go. Usually near a rugged outcrop, curious sea lions often dive into the water to play, zipping around and between snorkelers—stopping long enough to get a good look at these newcomers.

They’re gracious hosts with soft puppy-like eyes and playful demeanors, and although you should never approach  them, they might swim over to say hello. Such was the case during a kayaking session along Floreana Island, where three sea lions treated our kayak like a joyous obstacle course for nearly half an hour.

In addition to snorkeling and kayaking, the itinerary was spilling over with panga excursions and light walks and hikes. Alongside the naturalists, we explored the islands and the wildlife, including Blue-Footed Boobys, Penguins, Manta Rays, Sea Turtles, Galapagos Marine, and Land Iguanas, and—if you’re lucky—you might spot a Frigatebird with its spectacular red chest pouch.


Plan to arrive in Ecuador the day before you embark— or two days if you plan on sightseeing. You’ll take a domestic flight to San Cristobal Island when you embark. When you arrive at the airport for this flight, you’ll be greeted by Ecoventura staff, who will ensure you have the proper paperwork. Once at the airport in San Cristobal, you’ve arrived in the Galapagos—your adventure awaits.

The Ecoventura fleet is luxurious. In the end, though, my most cherished memory of the yacht experience was how Captain Jhon would be waiting for us—and waving—every time we returned from snorkeling. And Joselyn, the concierge, would hand each of us a small mug of freshly made hot chocolate. The Galapagos are grand, but so are the nuanced gestures of hospitality Ecoventura weaves throughout.

For more information on Ecoventura, visit




Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but some places give beholders more reason to appreciate them than others. Take Kauai. This lush, 533-square-mile Hawaiian Isle enchants visitors for many distinct reasons. Whether your dream day is kayaking off the Na Pali Coast

or exploring Waimea Canyon—dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain—the Garden Isle is for you. Beach lovers find its selection of strands irresistible, and divers can’t get enough of the warm waters off the shore.

Kauai is the oldest Hawaiian Island, nicknamed the Garden Isle, because it is lush and green. Every part of Kauai is worth visiting, and you’ll find numerous adventures to fill up your days on this magical Island.

Kauai invites leisurely exploration. The Island’s one main road leads you effortlessly to beaches, towns, forests, and parklands. Throughout the day, your senses will awaken to a symphony of surprises: the extravagant palette of sunrise and sunset and the lush, green ramparts of the Na Pali Coast. From tranquil forests to contemporary luxuries, Kauai unfolds in a spectacle of nature. Bring your beach towel, bottled water, appropriate footwear, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Of course, don’t leave your camera behind. Here are just a few of the natural wonders waiting for you.


Waimea Canyon is a “scenic treasure,” its multi-colored rock walls provide a sight you won’t soon forget. Once you’ve astonished yourself with the views, you can picnic in the wildlands and walk a short nature trail (there is a longer, more challenging trail in the forest reserve adjacent to the canyon). Plummeting over three thousand feet at its deepest point, the 10-mile-long canyon is a rough, inhospitable cut—only goats and birds can manage the jagged terrain; the main overlook offers a sprawling landscape, where whitetailed birds soar overhead.

Hardy hikers may want to tackle the trails that zigzag down the canyon’s wall, while the Illau Nature Loop north of the lookout is an excellent path for casual strollers.


Timing is everything at this 4,000-foot-high vantage point, where the vista is usually apparent in the early morning but obscured by mist and clouds by afternoon. Visitors often make the long ascent to Kalalau only to find the fabled view hidden by the clouds. But the effect is startlingly beautiful when clouds part—even if just for a moment.


The history of the area is as fascinating as the hike to it. Hawaiians lived here in large numbers from the 1400s through the 1800s. Later, a leprosy victim named Koolau hid from officials with his wife and child in the steep hills. Then, during the 1960s, Flower Children maintained the tradition by hiding from their families and the law in remote corners of the Na Pali Coast, building love shacks. Today, the area is a state park, but it’s still a place to go when you want to feel far away from the world you know. Be forewarned: The Kalalau Trail isn’t a cakewalk— even the first two miles require a lot of uphill walking.



No bus tour or boat can take you to the location. A Kauai helicopter tour is the only way to see and reach these magnificent falls. Island Helicopters Kauai will give you an incredible view of the falls from the air and up close as the helicopter lands at the Falls. After landing, you can walk to the base of the Falls and learn about the history and other facts about the surrounding rainforest.

The air portion of the tour, called the Grand Skies Island Tour, will not only take you to the movie-famous Falls but also give you access to other sensational landmarks such as Waimea Canyon, Hanapepe Valley, Hanalei Bay and Valley, and the Mount Waialeale crater. Throughout the tour, you’ll learn Hawaiian history and local legends from your pilot as you fly over these must-see canyons, mountains, and cliffs.

Island Helicopter Kauai also offers “Jurassic Falls.” This shorter flight, under an hour, does not include landing and provides a more budget-friendly experience. You’ll still experience the Jurassic movie while also seeing other popular sites, such as Waimea Canyon and the rugged Na Poli Coast cliffs and shoreline.

© Hawaii Tourism Authority-Ben Ono


You come to Kauai for the tropical setting, and it doesn’t get more tropical than the famous Fern Grotto. Accessible by riverboat up the Wailua River, this hanging fern-covered lava rock cave is surrounded by other tropical foliage. After the boats land, you’ll walk through the jungle to an imposing cave filled with giant cascading ferns. Inside, the guides recount legends with background music. Musicians playing Hawaiian music display its acoustics, making it no small wonder that this natural wonder is among the top attractions on Kauai.


Driving under a canopy of Eucalyptus trees is a tropical experience not to be missed! As you travel to the south shore of Kauai, take this fantastic route. The sun reflecting off the more than 500 trees offers a picturesque scene that guides you to the southern part of the Island. There are several stops to learn about the Island, from ancient worship sites to its long sugar plantation history.


Once you reach Poipu on the  South Shore, you’ll find what is known as one of the most photographed spots on Kauai: Spouting Horn. This blowhole among the crashing waves releases waters as high as 50 feet into the air! Stand on a guard-railed small hill overlooking the blowhole and join the countless others who have taken pictures of this grand sight. The blowhole results from the waters traveling through a natural lava tube below the surface, with compressed air forcing it upwards. The roar and hiss of the air accompanying the spraying waters make for an overall spectacular experience.


A stunning, picture-perfect arc of sand cradled by the sharp flanks of Mount Waialeale, this beach is famous for picnics, catching the rays, and beach gatherings. It’s also a popular film location, and the movie South Pacific captured it in all its splendor. After days of adventures and hiking, it’s a welcome sight for many!



Lighthouses are usually found in rugged, unspoiled areas, and this one is no exception. When the Kilauea Lighthouse on the National Register of Historic Places was built in 1913, it could be seen 20 miles from shore. The U.S. Coast Guard stopped operating when an automated light was installed in 1974; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now runs the 106acre preserve. After a multi-million-dollar renovation, there are updated exhibits and a half-mile trail to a volcanic crater. Look for red-footed boobies and wedge-tailed shearwaters soaring above. Nature lovers will be thrilled as they spot humpback whales in winter.


According to legend, the Menehune were tw0-food-tall people who occupied Kauai long before the Polynesians and accomplished enormous physical feats, the remains of which are still visible. The Menehune are credited with making this mullet pond by building a 900-foot-long wall to cut off land in the Huleia River. Legend has it that a princess and her brother asked the Menehune to undertake this task, and they agreed if the two didn’t watch them build it. Naturally, they did watch, and quite unnaturally, they were turned to stone. The twin pillars near the fishpond are said to be curious siblings.


It’s one of the most photographed beaches in Hawaii, and you won’t be able to resist taking your own shot (or two)! There are two beaches; the one farther west is more challenging, especially if the surf is up. You’ll find Lumahai Beach off Kuhia Highway after Hanalei Bay, then follow the unmarked trail; the second beach is farther west by the river.

For more information on Kauai, visit

© Hawaii Tourism Authority-Tommy Lundberg

Paradise is calling and awaiting your arrival…

Relax in Luxury

It’s time to discover your own personal paradise. As one of Bermuda’s premier luxury resorts, Newstead Belmont Hills offers top-notch amenities and great value, coupled with unique service that will make you want to come back year after year.


At the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa, we are pleased to offer you a rare real estate ownership opportunity. Learn how you can purchase a piece of paradise with a waterfront home in Bermuda.

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Newstead Belmont Hills

The Flanders Hotel Ocean City’s most historic and prestigious boardwalk hotel, known as “The Jewel of the Southern Shore”, was built in 1923. This serviceoriented Ocean City, NJ hotel, which was placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places in 2009. The Flanders combines the elegance and hospitality of yesteryear with modern amenities to offer the finest in luxury accommodations. All suites in our Ocean City hotel have private bedrooms and full kitchens, equipped with refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, coffee makers and stove tops, along with irons and ironing boards.

Located on the Ocean City Boardwalk, our full-service NJ beach hotel is a seaside destination that provides the following amenities:

• Spacious Banquet and Meeting Space

• Emily’s Ocean Room (featuring family friendly dining)

• The Shoppes at The Flanders (featuring clothing, jewelry, accessories)

• Divine Images Salon & Spa

• Outdoor heated pool (largest in Ocean City)

• Fitness Center

• 24-hour business center

Ocean City, known as America’s Greatest Family Resort, is one of the best beach towns in South Jersey. The Flanders, with its premier accommodations and prime location, is a landmark known throughout the region, state and nation. Vacationers have marveled at the towering structure as one of the great hotels along the Jersey Shore while local residents and business owners are reminded of the glory and memories provided by the resort. Because of its status as the grandest of Ocean City, New Jersey hotels, the community is fortunate that this architectural gem has survived to the present and continues to remain an important part of Ocean City’s past and future.



As you exit the Taconic State Parkway to Millbrook, NY, you feel the world move more slowly. No, it’s not the speed limit—it’s the serenity induced by the pastoral scenery as you drive the winding roads through rolling farmland and horse farms. This sense of calm is enhanced as you view The Millbrook Inn, a luxury boutique hotel with all the charm and warmth of an intimate country inn.

Housed in a 1906 building, The Millbrook Inn underwent extensive renovations in 2020. The new owners oversaw a meticulous renovation that preserved the building’s historical nature while providing all the luxurious amenities that have earned the Inn its place on The Select Registry.


Each of the nine well-appointed rooms features charming furniture curated through antiquing, locally found objects, and art of local Hudson Valley artists. Amenities include Matouk linens, pillow-top mattresses, luxurious ensuite bathrooms with marble floors, and glass-enclosed showers or shower/tub combinations. The guest rooms and the Inn’s common areas replicate the country charm of a grand American Colonial home but with all the modern conveniences of the 21st century.

Reclaiming the green space from an old parking lot, the renovation produced meadows of flowers, walking paths lined with daylilies, a kitchen garden with herbs and vegetables, and an outdoor fire garden to enjoy a ‘smore or a nightcap before turning in for the night. The fire garden is just one of a variety of indoor and outdoor cozy spots that are perfect for relaxing with a good book or your favorite game or sipping the complimentary glass of wine provided at check-in.



A complimentary breakfast is provided each morning and served in the sun-filled glass conservatory or on the outdoor patio, weather permitting. Dinners are offered at The Vintage at The Millbrook Inn, and their Sunday Brunch is extremely popular. Offering “elevated, but not fussy,” American cuisine, The Vintage arduously supports local farmers and purveyors. Surrounded by family farms of every kind, Chef Luke Hill creates a menu sourced only from the freshest ingredients in Millbrook and Hudson Valley. The menu changes seasonally with nightly specials. Be sure to try the Local Steelhead Salmon Trout, which appears regularly on the menu.

Dining on the Inn’s gorgeous patio is exceptional when the weather warms up. The Inn’s bar also features spirits produced in Millbrook, Hudson Valley, and New York State. The Vintage also features a New York-focused wine program. Consider one of The Vintage’s special wine- or whiskey-pairing dinners, such as the “Ode to Spring Wine Dinner” featuring wines from Milea Estate Winery or the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Dinner, again with a pairing from Milea.

For more on The Millbrook Inn, visit


The Village of Millbrook, called “a low-key version of the Hamptons,” begs some exploring, especially for antique hunters. A couple of great antique shops are on the village’s main drive, Franklin Ave. While strolling, stop for a delicious breakfast or lunch at Babette’s Kitchen. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, this bustling café and gourmet market serves the beautiful creations of CIA-trained chef Buffy Arbogast. Her specialties include her buttermilk biscuit sandwiches and a variety of BLTs (try the one with smoked salmon!). Dine in or take food to go and enjoy a picnic in the lovely Tribute Garden at the end of Franklin Ave.

Be sure to take a few hours to stroll the grounds of Innisfree Garden. With 185 acres of designed and wild spaces, Innisfree is a free-flowing, natural landscape of rock, water, wood, and sky and has been recognized as one of the “world’s ten best gardens.” The centerpiece of the garden is Tyrell Lake. The Lake Path encircles the lake and is the connecting element for the many “cup gardens,” which are the garden rooms or focal points in the landscape. Innisfree is open from late April (when the field of daffodils are in full bloom!) through late November.

The private Millbrook School is home to the AZAaccredited Trevor Zoo, the only accredited zoo in the world at a high school. The zoo plays a key role in the school’s curriculum. But it is also open to the general public, who delight in viewing and learning about the zoo’s red pandas, ring-tailed lemurs, golden lion tamarins, river otters, red wolves, and other zoo inhabitants. Trevor Zoo houses over one hundred eighty animals, seventy-five species, and eleven endangered species, and it is open all year.

Hudson Valley is home to a burgeoning craft beverage business. And a visit to Millbrook offers a couple of excellent venues. Ten-Mile Distillery in nearby Wassaic produces hand-crafted, small-batch whisky, vodka, and gin. Tours of Tenmile’s stateof-the-art facility offer guests an inside view of the entire production process and its stunning copper stills. Sample the final products in the inviting tasting room.

And just minutes away back in Millbrook, Tenmile owner John Dyson, creator of the “I Love NY” ad campaign, has produced some of New York State’s finest wines at his Millbrook Vineyards & Winery since 1985. Wine tastings are available daily yearround. Millbrook Winery’s indoor facility is a vaulted barn with various spaces where you can taste some excellent wines.

The winery features the Summer Jazz Concert series, live music, and food trucks from May to October. Many picnic tables and Adirondack chairs on the lawn offer wonderful views of the perfectly aligned grape vines.

For the outdoors person, you can visit Orvis Sandanona (the oldest shotgun shooting club in the country), play golf at the Links at Union Vale, or stroll along the famous Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie.




Everywhere I go, people ask about my all-time favorite destination. My answer is often the last place I have traveled to since I come home each time feeling so enamored. Turkey changed this pattern because it has stayed with me each day since I returned from an adventure so full of Turkish Delights—the confections, of course, but so much more. Over a week, I experienced Turkish hospitality on every level—from the opulence of Çırağan Palace Kempinski to offers from strangers to sit and enjoy coffee together. However, to my surprise, it all started on the flight to Istanbul.


Admittedly, the travel schedule was hectic last fall, and I didn’t do much research on what size plane I would be on. I was just grateful to be in business class and assumed a big plane for a long flight. As I settled in, I noticed a chef in fine dining-style. Sure enough, she visited each business class passenger, took orders for a multi-course meal, and explained that 80 percent of the ingredients are sourced locally in Turkey. The salmon was garnished with a celeriac mousse; the raspberry almond cake was sublime, and the flickering battery-operated candles gave the feel of the glamour of flying from long ago.

After the fine dining experience, I was ready for bed and looking forward to the lay-flat seat. The crew came by with specialty bedding and set up my sleep environment as I unpacked my complimentary Ferragamo amenity bag. In the meantime, I also dabbled in Turkish Airline’s  Feel Good Fly Good offerings, especially the menu of fresh blended juices, smoothies, and teas—all formulated to prevent common travel discomforts like restless sleep, indigestion, and dehydration.

I was also excited to see this travel wellness philosophy in the airline’s airport lounge. Chefs cook in real-time at elegant buffets, reserve-in-advance sleeping areas, and immersive experiences, like flight and golf simulators, to help pass the time. My destination was Istanbul, but it’s worth checking out the airline’s stopover program, which includes hotel vouchers that can be redeemed on the airline’s website after the ticket purchase

© Melanie Carden


Many of the hotels I stayed at presented arrival gifts like fresh flower bouquets—something I noticed drivers at the airport doing as well. Using this idea as a jumping-off point, I was  still taken aback by the exemplary level of service at Istanbul’s Çırağan Palace Kempinski. It’s a Kempinski property, so I had grand expectations, but this Ottoman imperial palace is almost beyond imagination. The hotel building’s recent redesign, led by General Manager Ralph Radtke, premier architect Mustafa Toner, and Ottoman Art Expert Serdar Gülgü, creates a seamless blend of history and modernday elegance. The property sits along the European shores of the Bosphorus, providing a dazzling backdrop and warm breezes.

I’d suggest a few nights here at the start of any adventures in Turkey. Enjoy the incredible rooms, soap butler, Turkish ritual baths, and fine dining at the Michelin-recommended Tuğra Restaurant in the Palace portion of the hotel. Chef Emre İnanır’s use of Aegean herbs and traditional Turkish methods, combined with his culinary prowess, makes for an evening you’ll long cherish.

While in Istanbul, make time to stroll the eclectic shops in the Karaköy neighborhood or the Grand Bazaar, take a tour with Istanbul Tour Studio, and sip craft cocktails while overlooking the city at Okra Restaurant’s rooftop bar.


Among my favorites in Turkey, along the southwest coast, is the city of Bodrum. It’s nestled in the area known as the Turkish Riviera or Turquoise Coast, and the drama of its seaside landscape and chic hotels has the ephemeral glam feel of a James Bond movie. The Aegean Sea is the beginning, middle, and grandiose finale to each day’s agenda—from lounging at private, high-end beach clubs to swanky open-air nightclubs.

If you’re looking for the latest oh-so-buzzy place to stay, it’s Kaya Palazzo Resort & Residences, Le Chic Bodrum. The spa features traditional Turkish Hammam experiences and a stunning waterfront location. Work with the staff to coordinate a yacht rental; the captain will pick you up just off the Pier Bar’s dock. Many hidden coves are nearby, where yachts dock for an afternoon of music, cocktails, and swimming. Float in the blue-green waters of the Aegean Sea, cocktail in hand. If you’re lucky, a little boat will putter on into the cove—going from one yacht to the next—selling fabulous ice cream treats.

Make time to head into town to visit Bodrum Castle and Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology and its fascinating Glasswreck Hall. Here, you can see remnants of Mediterranean trade dating back to 1025 AD; the exhibit houses the remains of a sunken ship and its 3-ton glass haul—from exquisite tableware to raw glass blocks. Adding to the fun, don’t miss summer shenanigans on Cumhuriyet Street—where music spills into the street and the cocktails, laughs, and dancing all flow freely.

My advice for would-be travelers? Start in Istanbul and make your way south, and you’ll never be without the salt air and Turkish hospitality.

For more information on Turkish Airlines, go to; for Kempinski Hotels, visit; for Kaya Palazzo Hotels, visit




Perched on the 15th floor of the sexy 35XV Condominium is this beautiful South-facing three-bedroom, three-and-one-half bath home that enjoys open city views and stunning sunsets—in the heart of the Flatiron District. The neighborhood is vibrant and bustling, named after the iconic Flatiron Building, a triangular landmark at Fifth Avenue and Broadway. This neighborhood offers commercial and residential spaces, attracting visitors with its unique charm.


Welcome to Residence 15C, where you will find the dramatic living and dining room facing South and West, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the Freedom Tower and across the Hudson River.

The elegantly designed kitchen boasts Bianco Bello marble counters, custom Poggenpohl cabinetry, a Miele appliance package, and a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator, plus sunset views. The south-facing master suite has a huge walk-in closet and a bathroom adorned with Calacutta and Spanish Cafe Bruno marble, radiant heated floors, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and a double vanity.

Two additional bedrooms face West and have sunset views, each with an en-suite bathroom. The apartment has automated shades, lighting, and temperature control, plus a washer/dryer and powder room for guests.


Amenities include a full-time concierge, live-in resident manager, fitness center, playroom, outdoor terrace, entertainment lounge, dining room, and refrigerated wine cellar with private wine storage.

The Flatiron District offers a diverse shopping scene catering to various tastes and preferences. For high-end shopping, head to Fifth Avenue, home to flagship stores of renowned fashion brands. If you prefer boutique shopping, explore the streets around the Flatiron Building, where you can find unique clothing, accessories, and home decor stores. This neighborhood is also a food lover’s paradise, with many dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. You’ll find cuisines from all over the world, making it easy to satisfy any craving. The area around Madison Square Park is known for its fantastic dining scene. Remember to try some of the famous pizza places, trendy brunch spots, and artisanal dessert shops. Asking price: $6.5000,000.

For more information on 35XV, visit Brown Harris Stevens at




Measuring 2800 square feet, this one-of-a-kind four-bedroom Prewar condominium home boasts over sixty feet of Central Park frontage with panoramic views. Meticulously renovated, the property features custom wood floors, an oversized living room, separate dining room, exquisite chef’s kitchen, large primary suite and three additional bedrooms.


Direct elevator access grants immediate entree to Residence #7B’s double-wide living room with a wall of windows and expansive Central Park vistas, perfect for entertaining in every season. The living room also has a library nook lined with custom millwork bookcases. The park-facing primary bedroom enjoys an ensuite marble bath with an oversized vanity, separate soaking tub and walk in shower, along with ample closet space. To the other side of the living room are the second and third bedrooms, also facing the park, each with a full bathroom attached.

In the east wing of the apartment is the dining room with a butler’s pantry, adjacent to the state-of-the-art windowed kitchen featuring Miele refrigeration, two Miele ovens, Thermador six-burner range, two Miele dishwashers, and full-sized Viking wine refrigerator. This is everything your inner chef or host could want and more! The light-filled dining room can easily seat twelve people. The fourth bedroom is currently configured as a media room with a fourth full bath. Truly, this is the perfect apartment in which to spread out for years to come.


Twelve-Twelve Fifth Avenue is a pet-friendly, full-service renovated Prewar condominium. Originally designed by the Blum Brothers in the 1930s, the building’s charm and character has been preserved within the modern living sensibilities, a true rarity along Fifth Avenue. Exceptional amenities include 24/7 door attendant/concierge, a 2500-square-foot fitness center, resident’s lounge, children’s playroom, and bike room. Private parking is also available within the building at owner-preferred rates.



Carnegie Hill—bounded by 86th and 96th Streets, Third Avenue, and Central Park—is well within Manhattan’s East Side’s embrace.

The neighborhood’s name dates from the early years of the century. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie built himself a mansion on Fifth Avenue and 91st Street in Manhattan’s residential area, referred to as “Prospect Hill.” Residents followed Carnegie’s influence, and mansions and luxury apartment buildings began to appear. The neighborhood was also once home to some of the wealthiest families in the world, including the Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and Rockefellers.

Carnegie Hill has been a hub of culture throughout its history. Today, it beckons some of the most affluent New Yorkers with its picturesque streets, impressive architecture, and easy access to everything the city offers. There are museums after museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, claiming a prominent spot on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile. You’ll also find the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for those early morning runs. Only steps away, you’ll find the iconic 92nd Street Y offering health and fitness as well as intellectual enrichment and entertainment.

Homes in this coveted residential neighborhood vary from 19th-century townhouses to stately apartment buildings and former Gilded Age hotels. More recently constructed and converted residences interspersed throughout complement the neighborhood’s historic streetscapes due to stringent guidelines from the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The neighborhood’s convenience is hard to beat anywhere in the city. Asking $4,995,000.

For more information on 1212 Fifth Avenue, visit Brown Harris Stevens at

Welcome to Harborside resort montauk

The Harborside Resort Montauk offers a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. On-premise pool and tennis, attractive rooms, studios, suites and efficiencies - each offering many amenities.

Montauk is one of the beautiful resort destinations on the East Coast. Miles of breathtaking coastline, nature trails and preserves, varied watersports from famed surfing to water-skiing to whale watching.

World renowned fishing is found here, too as Montauk is well recognized as one of the top fishing capitals of the world.

For beach lovers, we provide our guests’ access to Montauk’s finest ocean and sound beaches. And, golfers, bring your clubs and golf at the magnificent Robert Trent Jones designed Montauk Downs State Park located just one mile from the Harborside. You can enjoy the pleasure of

371 West lake dr. montauk, nY 11954


nearby horseback riding, being pampered at a marinotherapeutic spa, great shopping and a trip to our treasured beacon - the Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Sample the gourmet delights of the finest restaurants, just a short walk or drive away.

You will never be at a loss of things to do in Montauk - where a great vacation begins!




As we celebrate Earth Day this month, why not put into practice ways to lower our overall impact on the environment? It’s like a ripple effect: a little from each of us can go a long way. The place where we can start making change is the one we know best—our home.

What is a green home? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, green building is defined as creating structures and using environmentally responsible and resourceefficient processes throughout a building’s life cycle. Green building design has been trending for years, but what exactly is it? Going green intentionally reduces the impact on Earth’s resources and involves mindful building design and practices. The design dramatically reduces the structure’s environmental impact using sustainable and eco-friendly materials and lowers the number of resources used to operate a building.

Today, builders are designing homes that limit energy use and carbon emissions, which has tremendous environmental benefits. With climate change in mind, the home construction industry has realized the importance of eco-friendly and sustainable practices and has made huge advancements to support sustainability.

Everyone can contribute to creating a greener and healthier planet. Plenty of doable and affordable options for reducing one’s carbon footprint. Here are innovative ways to make your residence eco-friendlier while saving money.

Create A Home Energy Audit This will help you understand where your energy costs and emissions are coming from. An audit generally costs as little as $100. Home energy auditors check the home thoroughly and inspect air leakage, insulation levels and review electric bills.

Install A Smart Thermostat More than half of our energy usage is heating and cooling a home. Installing a smart thermostat is a brilliant idea, as it gives you more control so you can use the system only as needed. It automatically adjusts to your schedule, the weather, and occupancy, is personalized to your comfort preferences, and can result in direct savings with lower monthly energy bills. Smart thermostats also provide essential data on your weekly and monthly energy usage, so it is easy to identify how much you spend on heating and cooling and adjust accordingly.

Switch To LED Lightbulbs They use up to 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and 80 percent less energy than halogen bulbs. Changing your lightbulbs and fixtures to LED not only saves money but reduces your carbon footprint. These energy-efficient bulbs last twenty-five thousand hours compared to twelve hundred for incandescent bulbs.

Upgrade To New Appliances Energy-efficient appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dishwashers, and dryers now consume less electricity than standard models. In 1992, the federal government introduced the Energy Star program, and since then has reduced energy costs by $500 billion and greenhouse gases by four billion metric tons.

Design Your Interior Use eco-friendly furniture, including salvaged wood, recycled textiles, and reused materials. Natural materials like bamboo, rattan, and seagrasses have grown in popularity and are still trending. A few eco-friendly furniture materials that a furniture company uses include reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood, recycled steel, or recycled aluminum for metal furniture. Source furniture from local artisans or purchase from eco-friendly brands.



If building a new home is part of your plans, a green home design will help lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Sustainability is the new standard. Most importantly, embracing green building practices is both environmentally responsible and economically beneficial.

So, where do you start? The first and most crucial step is site selection and orientation. Choose a lot that maximizes natural light and minimizes energy consumption. Choose a south-facing orientation to take advantage of passive solar heating. Install double-glazed or low-E windows to retain heat in the colder months and keep more relaxed in the hotter season. In terms of materials, select responsibly sourced timber for framing and other wood components and incorporate recycled materials. Geothermal energy is utilized for efficient heating and cooling.

Remember to tap into the sun. According to NASA, every day the sun provides the Earth with 10,000 times the total energy consumed by humans. A passive solar house has been designed to take advantage of that. In simple terms, the home collects heat as the sun shines through south-facing windows and retains it in materials that store heat, known as thermal mass. Passive solar homes also provide daylight all year and comfort during the cooling season with nighttime ventilation.

We recently met with the experts at Deltec Homes, who are familiar with environmental responsibility. It does not mean just lessening our impact but instead finding ways to have a therapeutic, positive effect on our planet through the homes they build. Sustainable construction has earned them a well-deserved reputation as one of the top home builders in the world. They help address the root causes of climate change by dramatically reducing the energy and carbon needed to build and operate the home.

Today, round homes are naturally more energy efficient than traditional homes because they have a more airtight design, making them more efficient to heat and cool. Each home in their new 360 Signature Collection is built Net Zero Ready in most U.S. climate zones—one of the most stringent green building standards in the country. The net impact is that these homes are two times as energy efficient as a typical home.

For more information on Deltec Homes, visit



Wellness coach, author, and speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, and steering you down a more straight forward path. We welcome your questions and invite you to contact Mindie at:

Mindie is available for in-person and virtual wellness therapy sessions via her Executive Health by Mindie Barnett wellness coaching practice. Her expertise is in interpersonal relationships, overcoming depression, coping with anxiety and avoiding and overcoming burnout among many other wellness areas. Life coaching and career coaching are also areas she excels in. For more information or to schedule a session visit

Dear Mindie,

I am having a lot of personal struggles with my on-and-off boyfriend. He is separated from his wife and plans to divorce before the summer. He has been living apart from her for more than a year and has no plans for reconciliation.

We met through mutual friends last fall and began connecting as platonic friends. Slowly but surely, that friendship grew into a romantic relationship. Still, we have not officially called ourselves a “couple,” he is very guarded because he is not divorced yet and shares a child with his soon-to-be ex-wife.

While I care for him deeply, the situation makes me uneasy. Some days, I am happy; other days (when he is absent or elusive), I am sad. He wants to maintain constant contact, but from afar, which hurts my heart. While I know his intentions are good and he is not leading me on, I still wish things could progress in a more normal way. What should I do?



Dear Sad,

Your situation sounds complicated! It sounds like you have met a genuinely lovely man and one that you care about. That is a win, especially in today’s dating climate. However, your timeline versus his is not in alignment. If you find more days are spent feeling happy than sad due to the fact this man is not able to provide you with more physical presence and support, then I would suggest you step away until he has worked through his divorce and can meet you where you are. This does not mean that you need to remove him from your life but scale back his accessibility to you so that you can better protect your heart and put your needs at the forefront. That move alone will leave you feeling much more in control of a situation you have little control over.

If that feels impossible or you find your days are leaning more on the happier side of the scale than sad, I advise that you breathe and know in time that you will receive the relationship you need and deserve. We do not always (in fact rarely!) have a hand in the pace of interpersonal relationships; the rhythm is typically a collision of several factors: work commitments, geography, other interpersonal responsibilities, and the needs of two individuals.

Often, compromise is vital for every relationship element, and this situation is a prime example of that. You might suggest that while you understand his current constraints, respect his situation, and support him, he could also be mindful of your needs and do his best to meet you where you are, whenever possible, until his situation is different. That said, you must be willing to accept the situation as it is and know it may not change for the better anytime soon. Divorces can be messy and lengthy, depending on the circumstances and personalities involved. It would help if you were prepared for that.

You should do some real soul-searching and determine which option seems worse (as they are neither ideal). Keep your heart and mind open to possibilities, too – your first allegiance must be yourself. Our first relationship is the one we keep with ourselves, and if yours is not intact, then you will never be able to be a true partner to another, regardless of the details.

I wish you the very best and that you find the love you seek at the end of the tunnel!

Love,  Mindie xo

© Chris Ruetten



Relaxing and unwinding are essential to giving your body a break when you’re feeling more stressed than ever. Chronic stress is a health hazard. Since it can be hard to chill—especially when family emergencies, work, or other matters develop—why not take a moment to care and treat yourself to a little R&R at a spa in the mountains?

The Catskills have long been a relaxing and therapeutic site. A weekend is an ideal way for some to reconnect with themselves. A part of Emerson Resort, the Spa is fifteen minutes north of Woodstock—an area that is divine this time of year. Surrounded by nature, this 20acre boutique property in the town of Mount Tremper offers everything from guided hikes to bike rides along its picturesque paths—and The Emerson Spa.

Get ready to recharge when you step through the spa door, which used to be part of a temple. Legend says that once you step over the threshold, all negativity leaves, and positive energy takes over. Spa services range from massages to body scrubs to their innovative skincare system, a series of anti-aging and energizing facials so you can keep the positive vibes going all day long. Other popular treatments include vegan nail care and hot and cold stone treatments. Remember to try a body scrub with their divine seasonal oils.

The Earth inspires treatments and therapies offered at the Spa. For example, the Spa provides a sublime facial, anti-aging treatment that stimulates cellular regeneration. Visitors might also try unique masks that feature cleansing balms, such as Sacred Nature Mask Repair Solution, which cleanses and rejuvenates. For those seeking a complete energy cleanse and reset, try the Chakra Renewal, a 60-minute crystal reiki session, and a chakra realignment. After your treatments, why not grab a quick refresher at the Spa Bites room, which is open daily?


The Emerson is near some historic towns. Phoenicia has charm and serves as more an appetizer to the entrée of Woodstock and Saugerties. Here, the bohemian spirit and “Summer of Love” aura is holding on with its galleries, specialty shops and forced nostalgia of tie-dye shirts and tourist souvenirs for those looking to get recapture that decade. The best of the area is the numerous nature trails and waterfalls, visual gifts that have always been there. One such site is Kaaterskill Falls, whose prize of a scenic overlook can be accessed through a pleasant stroll through the wooded pathways.



The enchanting Emerson Resort mixes rustic chic with modern comforts, reflected in their public areas, and fifty-three spacious yet cozy rooms and suites. With friendly staff throughout the property, don’t be surprised if they know your name by the end of your stay. Named after the famed poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose love of nature is captured in his many poems, the resort pays tribute to Mr. Emerson with framed poems and classic books. These items can be found throughout the resort and in the rooms. After all, the Emerson Resort is where the poet himself would have felt inspired—and undoubtedly very relaxed! Dining at  Woodnotes Grille, known for its locally sourced menu, is a relaxing way to end the day. There are dogfriendly amenities, and the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope awaits all guests. Like a small village, the resort stretches over a few acres and provides everything you’ll need for a few days of total relaxation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.” The Emerson Resort and Spa offers various landscapes: those created by nature, those we see with our eyes closed as we indulge in spa services, or even the transporting experience of reconnecting with nature.


Emerson Spa advises its guests to continue their wellness plan daily for a more balanced life.

Meditate:  Whether at the start or end of your day, take five minutes to reflect and breathe. Many great apps guide you through simple meditation practices, which can help you get into a daily routine.

Keep Moving: This is especially useful for office workers and those working from home; avoiding being sedentary all day is essential.

Mindful Eating:  It’s easy to consume whatever snacks or leftovers are available at home or the office. Instead, be aware of what you’re putting into your body, incorporate healthy and wholesome ingredients, slow down while eating, and pay attention to when you are full. At Emerson Spa, the Spa Bites menu features Açaí bowls.

Brisk Walking:  Find 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk. The recommended 30-minute daily exercise. During this 30-minute brisk daily walk, stimulate your mind by picking up a new audiobook or subscribing to a podcast.

Stretch & Strengthen:  When you’re unwinding from the day, practice easy 5 to 10-minute stretch and strengthening exercises, whether via a foam roller or a grounding yoga stretch to heal your body.

Green Spaces: Even those living in urban destinations can do so through local parks or communal green spaces. This season, take advantage of the daytime sunlight and get some vitamin D.




Kosher wine has stepped up and out of the shadows. Once a syrupy sweet concoction made of Concord Grapes barely deserving of being in the “wine” category, it is now award-winning and globally produced with exceptional winemakers crafting vintages from grapes such as Pinot Noir, Sancerre, and Malbec, or in the case of, BriO Château Cantenac Brown, Cabernet Sauvignon blended with more Merlot than is traditional in this very modern Margaux.

Vineyards are not just where you’d expect them well above sea level in Israel. You’ll find exceptional Kosher wines now being crafted with notable results in California, France, Italy, and Spain, as well as South Africa where ESSA and J Folk wineries are remarkable producers.


It’s said that there’s nothing cookie-cutter about this category today, indeed Kosher wine has become a world-class, distinctive, sophisticated choice for a Passover Seder where ritual prescribes drinking four cups of wine.  Although Kosher winemaking is overseen by “sabbath-observant Jews,” there is no exclusively Kosher winemaking technique. The grapes are of the same outstanding quality as any other wine however these vintages are branded kosher-for-Passover wine with the “P” symbol or “Kosher for Passover” next to the Kosher certification on the label.



We’re seeing growth in exceptional Kosher wine, particularly thanks to younger generations, who though bound by Kosher tradition, are thirsty for new wines from as many wine-growing regions as they can possibly explore. Compared to parents and grandparents, this generation is far more educated about wine. Enthusiastically they are seeking to experience a wider variety of Kosher wines, certainly red, the preferred choice for Passover, but also white, sparkling, rose, and dessert wines as well as fine cognacs. And with this desire to look beyond what a family might have accepted in years past comes a stringent demand for higher quality, for wines that don’t opt to compromise taste in order to be certified Kosher.


Naturally, Israel is the first point of origin you would be likely to consider when selecting a Kosher wine for the Passover Seder.  Israeli wines have long been the gold standard in terms of Kosher wine production. And Israel continues to experience a boom in boutique wineries with award-winning wines earning global recognition.

No doubt Israel has led the way and indeed, continues to do so with a steadfast commitment to improvement and innovation in the vineyards and in the cellars, yielding wines of the highest quality. However today you can find a myriad of varieties, regions, and styles of Kosher wine from every corner of the world, influenced by old-world techniques and new-world demands. Kosher wine now is not only reaching new heights in terms of taste but unfettered by expected boundaries, is produced in remote realms like Georgia, the Caucasus region considered Europe’s most isolated country, and New Zealand, Oceania (Asia-Pacific region) which though known worldwide for their Sauvignon Blanc is now yielding a Kosher Pinot Noir.


No matter where you select a Kosher wine from, or at what price (Kosher wines range in price from about $15 to $75, with Cognac being significantly higher), you’ll be rewarded with a delicious pairing for your Passover Seder. Here are our recommendations by region with brief tasting notes. L’chaim!


· Kamisa Winery Vanilla and anise, earthy with notes of red fruit.

· Shamay Winery Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French oak barrels.

· New Carmel Black Cabernet Sauvignon Ripe fruit, cassis, and hints of tomato leaf.

· Herzog Lineage Momentus Rose Pomegranate, raspberry, and tart cherry.


· Cantina Giuliano Supple, well-balanced Chianti reflecting the genuine flavors of the Tuscan countryside.

· Lovatelli Barbera d’Asti Ripe strawberries, red cherries, and raspberries.

· Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico From a world-famous producer rich, intense cherry, plum, and spice.


· Aurore de Dauzac Margaux ’21 Savory and classic, crispy black fruits.

· Chateau Roubine Cru Classé Lion & Dragon Red Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

· J de Villebois Sancerre Pinot Noir Silky yet clean with a good texture and a finish of crunchy fruit.

· Malbec du Clos Triguedina Cahors Rich, smooth with fruity overtones.



As of late, Koreatown has been growing beyond its traditional area of 32nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and NYC diners could not be happier. Steve and Christina Jang, the owners of New Wojo—the most successful Korean BBQ in the area—have created an elevated eatery called OCTO that features Korean-Chinese fare. OCTO is the only restaurant in NYC serving this cuisine. It dates to the late 1800s when Chinese immigrated to Korea. They also brought with them an Asian-Fusion style of cooking.

Popular spices from both countries are mixed to create sensations of extraordinary taste. Diners who have never experienced Korean-Chinese will undoubtedly be asking their servers to identify some of the unusual sweet and savory spices used— among them combos of shitake mushroom, smoked paprika, nori, cinnamon, sesame seeds, fennel, black pepper, garlic, ginger, nori, and Gochugaru. Some dishes are kept simpler and “purely Korean,” flavored with the three ingredients in every Korean kitchen—soy sauce, soybean paste, and chili paste.


The  OCTO  cuisine is elevated, but you will feel comfortable the minute you set foot into the ultra-large dining room with lofty ceilings, oversized elegant Asian art, red leather booths, and a vast open kitchen, which is visible from every seat in the house. Co-owner Steve Jang tells us, “We want to be a warm and welcoming space for diners of all ages to enjoy a memorable dining experience. By locating ourselves near Koreatown, we sought to ensure easy access for customers from across the city, embracing the vibrant cultural landscape while adding our twist to Chinese cuisine that resonates with the Korean palate.”

Hanging in the front of the kitchen is both traditional Peking Duck and Black Peking Duck, created with Italian truffles that must be ordered two days ahead (many diners team this delicacy with truffle fried rice). All the dishes at OCTO are served family style. They are reasonably priced—each has about four generous portions, so arguably, a table can get packed on one shared appetizer (like the unique handmade dumplings) and one entrée (like the crowd-pleasing Garlic Chicken, which features deep-fried battered chunks of white meat chicken topped with sesame seeds and a sauce quite like the one on General Tsao’s Chicken).



Dumplings are popular right now, and many restaurants and food carts serve them exclusively!  OCTO has only been open since January 9th—still the press reviews have been roaringly positive for their unique dumplings, which include  OCTO Truffle Siu Mao (filled with soft-boiled quail egg, pork, prawn, and black truffle) and the crowd-pleasing Spicy Pouched Dumplings (with a filling of pork, celery, peanut, black vinegar, and a spicy sauce). Both dishes are boiled, but you can get panfried dumplings filled with pork, shrimp, cabbage, and chives. We suggest starting with the Spicy Poached Dumplings, which come in a portion of six. The light, semi-transparent dough filled with fresh farm ingredients will make you want to move into OCTO and never leave!


The noodle dishes are something you will find unique. A halfdozen notable noodle and rice dishes are available, and we tried a meat and noodle dish never seen on any menu in the city before called OCTO Steak Jajangmyeon. This is an unusual combo of beef striploin, pork, truffle, onion, noodles, and bean paste sauce. The tender beef and pork pairing is a winner, and the bean paste sauce gives off an intriguing cinnamon-like flavor.

We then selected two large entrees for about eight people to share (we had no idea they would be so big, and we were not complaining!). Hot Garlic Chicken did not disappoint with its deep-fried juicy breast chunks, leeks, lettuce, and pepper. The saucy was mildly garlicky, and you can ask for hot oil and powdered cayenne pepper if you want to kick up the “hotness” a notch. The second dish was the Tangsuyuk, which is crispy pork, leeks, onions, mushrooms, and homemade sweet and sour sauce, nothing like the type you know in Chinese restaurants. This sauce is genuinely Koren-Chinese meaning it has a lovely touch of bean paste.


Vegetarians and vegans might be fearful that there are no dishes for them at OCTO, but nothing could be further from the truth. Top choices for “vegs” include Cucumber Radish Salad, which features marinated cucumber, radish, and garlic sauce; Kimchi Soup Dumplings, which are filled with pork, carrots, kimchi, Thai chili, and sweet and sour sauce; both the Ma-Po Tofu and Chili Eggplant sauteed in hot oil that can be made without the pork listed on the menu; and Seasonal Vegetables, which are stir-fried assorted farm-to-table exotic vegetables with oyster garlic sauce.

For pescatarians, there are plentiful seafood dishes, including Jellyfish Salad made with wood ear mushroom, cucumber, and black vinegar sauce; a Crispy Shrimp Mini Sandwich, which is filled with minced shrimp and seasonal salad; the Scorched Seafood Rice Hot Pot which has baby cuttlefish, shrimp, squid, bamboo shoots and a crispy rice crust; and Glazed Orange King Prawns which feature dried orange, crispy garlic, kale, chili and Chinese yellow wine.

Upon observing our fellow diners, we noticed many large tables sharing the traditional  OCTO Peking Duck and a couple of dumplings and noodle dishes. What makes the ducks excel is that they are exclusively raised for the restaurant on a small Tri-state area farm and are only 48 days old when served.

OCTO is a culinary experience like no other. Jang reveals that great new menu additions are due this Spring: “While we have several exciting new dishes prepared, we are still in the process of finalizing which ones will debut on our menu. However, we can say with certainty that our focus will be on expanding the seafood and beef selection. Additionally, we’re excited to introduce more options that cater to vegetable enthusiasts and a variety of tempting options for dim sum lovers. Stay tuned for updates as we prepare to unveil our delicious new additions!”

For more information on OCTO, visit




Every New Yorker worth their salt knows that Easter and Passover are the two most important times of year in the Judeo-Christian calendar. And as Christ has already risen according to the Christian calendar (Easter was at the end of March), I wanted to share a couple of recipes for Passover from my dear friend and fellow foodie journalist, Aly Walansky. I have mentioned her in my column before…a woman I have nothing but the utmost respect and adoration for given her talents behind both the keyboard, and the kitchen counter! And as Aly is a big believer in the Kosher lifestyle, I asked her for some Passover recipes to help our Jewish readers celebrate the exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt!

One challenge on Passover is the restriction on grains and leavened bread. There are a lot of stories around why this came to pass as part of the Passover tradition, but it is not my place to recount those. After all, I can’t take away a Jewish Mother and Bubbe’s task for Passover! It’s their job to tell the story! Hence our first Passover recipe, which uses matzo meal to help create a “sandwich,” or as Aly calls them, rolls!


·1 1/4 cups water

·1/3 cup neutral oil

·1 tablespoon sugar

·1 teaspoon kosher salt

·2 cups matzo meal (my mom uses cake meal in hers, so you can use that too)

·4 large eggs

·1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

·2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme


1. Preheat oven to 375F

2. Cover a large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; add matzo meal, stirring well with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan (about 30 seconds). Remove from heat, place dough in bowl of a stand mixer. Cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed with paddle attachment until well combined and scraping sides and bottom of bowl after each egg. Stir in chives and thyme.

4. With moistened fingers, shape about 1/4 cupfuls of dough into 12 mounds 2 inches apart onto prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 55 minutes or until browned and crisp. then let cool!

And, of course, a family meal is not complete without the best part, dessert! Aly’s Mom, Ellyn Walansky, jumped in on the Passover bandwagon at Great Bites this month with her traditional Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe:



·1 cup of Butter (2 sticks) melted

·1 cup of brown sugar

·½ cup of powdered sugar

·2 eggs

·1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

·2 – 2 ¼ cups of cake meal

·1 teaspoon of baking soda

·½ teaspoon SALT

·1 package of chocolate chips


1. Mix first 6 ingredients until creamy

2. Mix in cake meal, baking soda and salt

3. Stir in chocolate chips

4. Use a small ice cream scoop to form cookies

5. Bake about 8 minutes until light brown

Thank you to Aly and Mrs. Walansky for such a flavorful and Kosher way to help our readers celebrate Pesach (Passover)!



Earth Day is April 22nd. And I cannot think of a better way to celebrate such an important day than with my friends at Move for Hunger and their Zero Waste recipes. Move for Hunger is a non-profit that mobilizes transportation networks to deliver surplus food to communities in need! Interesting fact…did you know that almost 38 percent of food grown, processed and transported in the US went to waste in 2023?

Think about how much pollution that equates to, let alone how many families are facing food insecurity right now which could benefit from such a program!



· 2 tbsp olive oil

· 1 large onion diced

· 5 cloves garlic minced, or 4 small cloves minced

· 3 tbsp yellow curry powder

· 2 tsp turmeric

· 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated

· 2 - 15 ounce can full fat coconut milk (search the international section of your grocery store)

· 1 - 14 oz can of diced tomatoes drained

· 1 tsp salt and pepper - more to taste

· 1 head cauliflower chopped

· 1 large red pepper sliced

· 1 15 oz can chickpeas

· Cilantro chopped

· Basil chopped

· Cashews - optional

· Lemongrass or lemon juice optional

· Red pepper flakes - optional


1. In a large pot/skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Saute onions until browned, about 2 minutes.

2. Add garlic and saute for another 45 seconds.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add curry powder, turmeric and ginger. Let that heat for about 15 seconds then add coconut milk, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

4. Bring to a simmer then reduce to medium low heat. Add cauliflower, red pepper, lemon grass and cashews if using. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

5. Add chickpeas, cilantro, basil and red peppers if using. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes.



(Using scraps from the No-Waste Cauliflower Curry recipe)

1. Process the cauliflower scraps and then add one medium-baked sweet potato or russet potato.

2. Process with 1 egg, cheese, everything bagel seasoning, and 1/4 cup almond flour.

3. Shape into tot shapes and bake 400F for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with sea salt.

To learn more about why Move for Hunger is so important, or how you can help, please visit




FBut the stakes are higher this year in Louisville, Kentucky. Yes, pun very much intended. It is the 150th year that 20 threeyear-old Thoroughbreds vie for the crown at Churchill Downs. And you know what that means! Any marked anniversary airing of a time-honored tradition always results in insanely cool and off-the-hook athome viewing parties!

So, we contacted our friends at Heaven’s Door to see if they had some traditional and not-sotraditional cocktails for bourbon loving fans to help commemorate the big race. And boy did the Bob Dylan-owned brand come up with some amazingly delicious concoctions!

Let’s start off with a classic cocktail perfect for the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep. Julep, derived from the Persian word Golâb meaning “rosewater” was originally a delicate beverage made with sweetened water and rose pedals. The more well-known and modern rendition, known as the Mint Julep, would come into popularity in the early 19th century in the American south, where mint and bourbon were introduced to serve both as a cure-all to common ailments, as well as a refreshing concoction for hot and muggy summer days.


or 150 years, equestrian enthusiasts and commoners alike have clamored to be a part of the Kentucky Derby, in some way, shape or form. In the last several decades, for the most part, that participation came in the form of watching the legendary race on television with friends and fellow horse race fans, be it at home or at a bar or pub.



· 2 1/2 oz Heaven’s Door Ascension, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

· ½ oz simple syrup or 2 sugar cubes

· 4 to 5 fresh mint sprigs, leaves only, plus springs for garnish


1. Place 4 to 5 fresh mint sprig leaves and 2 sugar cubes, or 1/2 oz simple syrup into a julep cup, collins glass, or double oldfashioned glass.

2. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and release the oil and aroma of the mint.

3. Add 2 1/2 oz Heaven’s Door Ascension

4. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.

5. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and serve.




Of course, with a classic cocktail comes a modern twist with some very traditional Southern flavors!

· 12 fresh mint leaves, plus a bunch for garnish

· 2 oz Heaven’s Door Revelation Double Barrel Whiskey

· 2 oz strong steeped peach tea

· ½ oz demerara syrup


1. Brew a strong serving of your favorite peach tea and set aside to cool.

2. Add the mint leaves, Heaven’s Door Revelation and demerara syrup to a tin and shake with ice.

3. Fill a highball glass halfway with ice and add the cooled peach tea.

4. Use a fine mesh strainer to pour cocktail over the ice and peach tea.

5. Top with crushed ice and a bouquet of fresh mint leaves.

Lastly, for something a little less sweet, perhaps a little more sophisticated, and with deeper flavor profiles, try this simple cocktail from Heaven’s Door


· 2 oz Heaven’s Door Refuge, Straight Rye Whiskey

· 1 oz Dry Vermouth

· 2 dashes Orange Bitters

· 1 Orange Peel


1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice, stir until lightly chilled.

2. Pour into a coup glass, express the orange peel and discard.

3 Enjoy!



Now you can’t have a blowout party without some amazing fare to match the quality of those tasty cocktails! After all, you want to make sure you are serving your guests responsibly! You want them to get home, safe and sound. So, for this story, I put together some traditional Southern favorites to serve your guests!



Carolina Vinegar Sauce

· 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

· 3/4 cup ketchup

· 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

· 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

· 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

· 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Pulled Pork:

· 1 (4-lb.) bone-in pork shoulder

· 1 Tbsp. Smoked paprika

· 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

· 1 Tbsp. kosher salt

· 1 tsp. dry mustard

· 1 tsp. onion powder

· 1/2 tsp. celery salt

· 1/2 tsp. celery salt

· 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

· 1/2 tsp. black pepper

· 1 Tbsp. canola oil

· 1 (12-oz.) pilsner-style beer


Carolina Vinegar Sauce

Vigorously whisk together vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, crushed red pepper, and mustard in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves.

Measure 1/2 cup sauce into a small bowl; reserve for slow cooker.

Cover remaining sauce (about 2 cups) in medium bowl; set aside for serving.

Pulled Pork

Pat pork dry with paper towels. Stir together smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, mustard, onion powder, celery salt, garlic salt, and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle all over pork. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over high until hot but not smoking.

Add pork; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Transfer pork to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

Add beer to skillet; reduce heat to medium, and cook 30 seconds, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from skillet bottom.

Pour beer mixture and reserved 1/2 cup sauce over pork in slow cooker.

Cover and cook until pork easily pulls away from bone using a fork, 5 to 6 hours on HIGH or 8 to 10 hours on LOW.

Remove pork from slow cooker, and transfer to a large heatproof bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Remove and discard bone.

Shred meat using 2 forks. Add 1 cup of the reserved sauce from medium bowl to meat, and toss to coat.

Serve pork on buns with remaining sauce on the side.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.



For the marinade

· 2 lbs. bone-in skin-on chicken pieces

· 1 cup buttermilk

· ¼ cup hot sauce

· 1 teaspoon each paprika garlic powder, black pepper, salt

For the breading

· 1 cup flour

· ½ cup corn starch or replace with more flour

· 1 teaspoon each paprika garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper

· Oil for spraying chicken Canola, Peanut, Vegetable, or olive oil


Combine buttermilk, hot sauce, and spices for the marinade in a large bowl. Add chicken and mix to combine. Cover and marinate up to 24 hours or use right away.

Pre-heat air-fryer to 375F

In a medium shallow bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and spices for breading. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the buttermilk batter into the flour mixture and mix it through with a fork.

Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken the flour mixture and press flour on the top chicken to form a thick crust. Transfer chicken to a pre-heated air fryer in a single layer without overlapping. You may need to work in batches if needed. Generously spray chicken with oil or brush it down with oil. You will need to apply a generous layer enough to coat all the breading or the flour will not cook and create a crispy crust. If at any point during the cooking you still see raw flour, go ahead, and brush it with a little more oil. The more oil you apple the crunchier the crust will be.

Set the Air-Fryer to 30 minutes and start. After 15 minutes, flip the chicken and lightly spray the other side with oil. Continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the chicken is golden and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Repeat with the remaining chicken as needed.



· 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

· 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

· 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature

· 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Preheat the oven to 325F.

2. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.

3. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks.

4. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

5. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

7. Cool and serve.

Bon Appetit!

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estled in the vibrant Financial District, Selene stands out as a one-of-a-kind Greek restaurant, seamlessly blending the traditional flavors of Greece with a contemporary flair. Since moving into the neighborhood nearly a year ago, Selene has become a fixture for locals and tourists alike. Even before stepping inside, the beautiful floral archway extends a warm welcome and provides an ideal spot for the perfect photo op. And this is just the start of your Selene experience!

Olga Ladna, Director of Operations at  Selene, drew inspiration from her experiences when conceptualizing the restaurant. Her vision was to introduce a feminine touch to the Fi-Di area, typically associated with a more masculine atmosphere. With a background in managing French, Greek, and Mediterranean eateries, Olga’s Ukrainian heritage also significantly shaped the restaurant’s menu offerings.


The mix of modern and natural elements that reflect the representation of Selene, the Titan Goddess of the Moon, brings an overall feeling of warmth. From the warm lighting to the carefully curated decor,  Selene offers patrons a relaxing yet still upbeat dining atmosphere. The welcoming decor is complemented by the attentive and friendly staff, who ensure that every guest who walks through their doors feels right at home.

Mediterranean cuisine is well-known for its enticing flavors and fresh ingredients and is celebrated for its simplicity, vibrant flavors, and healthful qualities. A beloved culinary tradition, Mediterranean-inspired dishes are enjoyed by people worldwide.

One of the key factors that sets this cuisine apart is its emphasis on balance and simplicity. Dishes are often characterized by their straightforward preparation methods and minimal use of processed ingredients, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through. The freshness and top-notch quality of each dish at Selene are unmistakable.

Patrons can dine on unique and authentic flavors of Mediterranean cuisine right here in Lower Manhattan. Whatever your palette craves, Selene offers a variety of options to choose from.

Start off with a inventive cocktail: The Mediterranean Margarita, includes mango, lime, and agave, left me craving a vacation. Their table-side Champagne cart is an excellent option if bubbly is more to your taste.

To start, the small plate options are plentiful, offering a variety of choices that can make it challenging to pick just one. If you’re a fan of avocados, the Tempura Avocado Fries served with a sweet chili sauce are a delicious option. For fish lovers, choices such as the Charred Octupus, Crab Cakes, or Shrimp Cocktail will leave you craving more. For lighter fare, try the Caesar Tahini Salad, a delightful twist on the classic Caesar. This delicious dish features whole grilled romaine lettuce, complemented by chickpeas, and topped with anchovies (which can be omitted upon request).


For the main course, Selene offers a variety of options—regardless of whether you’re looking for something by land or sea, this menu has you covered. We chose the Grilled Hanger Steak with a chimichurri sauce accompanied by a side of mashed potatoes, and the Lemon Chicken with roasted vegetables. For those craving alternative meat options, dishes include the Grilled Lamb Chops, Grilled Ribeye, or Selene’s Burger. For seafood lovers, the choices are abundant. Grilled Lobster Tails, Stuffed Branzino, Sesame-seared Tuna, Of course, save room for dessert!

In addition to dinner, the restaurant offers a lunch and brunch menu, making it a perfect spot for a weekend get-together with friends and a trendy lunch spot for those weekday lunches.

Selene goes beyond dinner service, extending its offerings to include separate menus for both lunch and brunch. This versatility makes it an ideal destination for relaxed weekend gatherings with friends and weekday business lunches. With its diverse menu options and inviting ambiance, Selene has you covered with its versatile dining options.

For more information on Selene, visit




Shakespeare is considered the greatest writer and dramatist in the English language. His plays have been performed more often than those of any other playwright. Join BroadwayHD in celebrating Shakespeare this April. Visit to see the entire collection of titles!


Exiled Prospero lives on a desolate island with his daughter, Miranda. When Prospero’s usurping brother sails by the island, Prospero conjures a storm that wrecks the ship and changes all their lives. This production, starring the beloved actor Christopher Plummer as Prospero, was captured on stage at the Stratford Festival in 2010



Funny, passionate, and exciting, Muse of Fire will change the way you feel about Shakespeare forever. This unique feature documentary follows two actors, Giles Terera and Dan Poole, as they travel the world to discover everything about the greatest writer of them all. Consulting a host of helpful luminaries along the way, including Ian McKellen, James Earl Jones, Judi Dench, and Tom Hiddleston, their exciting road trip takes them to Denmark with Jude Law, Hollywood with Baz Luhrman, a prison in Berlin, and Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon. Admitting that they often struggled to understand the Bard, even finding him frightening, a host of today’s top actors speak openly about their early encounters with the most famous storyteller in history. Giles and Dan enthusiastically set about tackling the fear and debunking the myth, showing us how Shakespeare can be incredible fun. Think Shakespeare is boring? Think again.

One of Shakespeare’s early comedies, The Comedy of Errors is a fast-paced farce exploring mistaken identities and relations lost and found. This production was captured by Digital Theatre live at the Clapham Community Project. It was devised specifically for schools and families by the Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with the critically acclaimed theater company, Told by an Idiot. Directed by Paul Hunter, it features a cast made up from the RSC’s ensemble and uses a pared down script, props, live music, and physical comedy to convey the story.



Taking its inspiration from Shakespeare, this hilarious musical romp recounts the backstage and on-stage antics of two feuding romances during an out-of-town tryout for a musical adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. Sparkling with eighteen classic Cole Porter songs including “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “Wunderbar,” “So in Love,” “Always True to You in My Fashion,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” this is Broadway musical comedy at its irresistible best. Directed by Michael Blakemore, this Tony winner for “Best Revival” stars Brent Barrett, Rachel York, Nancy Anderson, and Michael Berresse as the squabbling couples whose offstage disputes entangle them with a pair of song-and-dance gangsters and a pompous U.S. army general.

When three witches deliver some surprising prophecies, Macbeth hatches a plan to murder the king and claim the throne for himself. Provoked by his wife and preoccupied with greed, Macbeth begins his tragic descent into madness. Surrender to the Stratford Festival’s production of this haunting story of ambition and its dark consequences, as a military hero and his wife conspire to seize the throne of Scotland.


Power, betrayal, justice. Phyllida Lloyd directs a cast including Dame Harriet Walter in Shakespeare’s great political drama, part of the Donmar Warehouse’s all-female Shakespeare Trilogy. Set in the present day in the world of a women’s prison, Julius Caesar could not be timelier as it depicts the catastrophic consequences of a political leader’s extension of his powers beyond the remit of the constitution. As Brutus (Harriet Walter) wrestles with his moral conscience over the assassination of Julius Caesar (Jackie Clune), Mark Antony (Jade Anouka) manipulates the crowd through his subtle and incendiary rhetoric to frenzied mob violence. There follows the descent of the country into factions and the outbreak of civil war.




Sarah Hutton is the Senior Director of Client Development at Ticketmaster. She has spent over 15 years in the live entertainment industry, helping her clients fill arenas, Broadway theaters, and other venues with happy customers enjoying first-rate entertainment. From early on, Sarah had a strong interest in theater, which grew into a passion when she saw her first Broadway show, Beauty and the Beast.

A graduate of Emerson College, where she studied marketing communications, she later returned for graduate studies at the New School of Media Studies, where she received her Master of Science, Arts, Entertainment and Media Management. However, her reallife involvement in theater is what solidified her career.

Early on, Sarah served as Communications Director at Camp Broadway, where she utilized her marketing skills to help generate enrollment in the camp’s many theater programs. She would also get hands-on experience as a production associate on the Tony-nominated Broadway play Lombardi, starring Dan Lauria and Judith Light, and another sports drama, Magic/Bird, which highlighted the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.


Working on Broadway allowed Sarah to experience what it was like to produce a show, from raising money to writing and developing a script to building a creative team, casting, and mounting the production—all the way to opening (and closing) night.

Sarah then took on multiple roles during her seven-year tenure with The Shubert Organization. She represented various marketing, distribution, and ticketing channels while cultivating relationships with people throughout the industry, especially in theater.

Today, along with her many responsibilities at Ticketmaster, Sarah also gives back to the Broadway community as a Board Member of the Drama League, America’s only year-round creative home for stage & film directors, and as a CO/Lab Theater Group committee member. This non-profit organization provides individuals with developmental disabilities with a creative and social outlet through theater arts.

This season, Sarah adds Broadway Producer to her Curriculum Vitae as she steps up to coproducer on An Enemy of the People, starring Jeremy Strong and Michael Imperioli.

The pandemic significantly affected ticket sales. What did you do to get through what seemed like an endless shutdown of Broadway?

It was an incredibly difficult time for our industry, to say the least. With all the unprecedentedness of the pandemic, it would have been easy for us all to get stuck in the unknown. But this is showbiz, and the live entertainment industry came together unlike ever before, lobbying for grants, sharing learnings with peers, and standing in support of one another—albeit six feet apart!

Did working on Lombardi and Magic/Bird pique your interest in producing a show?

Yes! I am forever grateful to the lead producers, Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, for the crash course in production. Seeing how these shows came together firsthand was a priceless experience. Because of Tony’s long career at Anheuser Busch, we had unique opportunities with the NFL, including a Super Bowl promo where Dan Lauira played Vince Lombardi on TV in front of 110 million people watching at home, only to have the Packers go on to win it all. The magic of that experience will be hard to top, but it’s a full-circle moment for me to have my first co-producer show at the same theater where I worked on Lombardi 14 years ago.

This memory also feels timely as The Palace Theatre is set to reopen in the coming months after years of renovations. In my role at Ticketmaster, I’ll be a ticketing partner with Nederlander as they reopen the theatre and plan for the next big hit!

Tell us about your decision to join the producing team of An Enemy of the People

Working with The Drama League, I followed alum Sam Gold’s work, and when I heard he would be working for the first time with his wife, Amy Herzog, and their friend Jeremy Strong, that got my attention. An Enemy Of The People is about truth. It is a battle over truth and the essential facts hidden underneath political narratives. The play also speaks to how human actions have been poisoning the natural world for centuries, which has led to our global climate crisis. This is a timely play with an extraordinary cast and creative team, and it’s been an incredible production to be involved with thus far.





Rated: R

When a pretty young ballet dancer (Alisha Weir) is kidnapped, it seems to be all about that 12-year-old’s mobster dad. But when the kidnapper gang holes up in a secluded mansion, things don’t go so well since that tweener also wants to suck their blood! Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, and Giancarlo Esposito also join this latest vampire horror show.


Rated: R


Rated: R

As if  The Omen (from 1976) and its three franchise sequels weren’t enough to scare you, this prequel to the story of Damien, the devil’s child, may do the job. Nell Tiger Free stars as a nun whose trip to the Vatican uncovers all sorts of evil inside the Catholic Church. Bill Nighy and Charles Dance are at their creepy best in this original nightmare.

Director Guy Ritchie is obsessed with the idea of “gentlemen” (see his 2019 film  The Gentlemen and the newly launched Netflix series of the same name). Still, this group of “ungentlemanly” men is real. This is the fascinating tale of the real-World War II British soldiers who infiltrated behind German lines and took it to the Nazis. It’s also the beginning of Britain’s special forces division; starring Henry Cavill, Carey Elwes, Alan Ritchson, and Til Schweiger, this one’s a rip-roaring wartime adventure.


Rated: R


Rated: R

Actor Dev Patel takes on directing his first full-length film, an actionrevenge thriller that he also co-wrote and plays the titular character. Think John Wick in India and you’ll have the idea of this fight-filled tale of a poor man bent on avenging his mother’s murder.

What’s a 21-year-old male model-actor to do when his mother is Elizabeth Hurley and his late dad was wealthy film producer Steve Bing, who died by suicide? He writes and directs his movie thriller about a young woman’s suicide, naturally. That’s what Damian Hurley has done, with his mom starring, along with Georgia Lock, Genevieve Gaunt, and Lauren McQueen.





Apple TV+

Michael Douglas takes on the role of Benjamin Franklin in this fact-based story of how the great diplomat of the Revolutionary War helped make the nascent United States into a world force. In this eight-part miniseries, Franklin is 70, in France and using all his intellectual prowess to bring about the Frano-American alliance that changed the course of that war for independence. Eddie Marsan co-stars as John Adams in this historical thriller.


More historical drama comes to the small screen, this time set in the Jacobean court of King James, as Julianne Moore stars as Mary Villiers. She is a social-climbing aristocrat who schemes to put her gorgeous son (Nicholas Galitzine) into the king’s bed – and succeeds. Think The Great and if you love that series, this one’s for you, too, with its heady mix of intrigue, dark comedy, and, of course, sex. Tony Curran co-stars as the king

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW Paramount+/Showtime

Ewan McGregor stars as the titular hero in this miniseries based on the 2016 novel of the same name. He’s part of the Russian aristocracy, a gentleman who finds himself alive, but under house arrest, as the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 unfolds. How he navigates the war in the streets, romance, and avoiding getting knocked off makes for a dramatic tale that co-stars his actual wife, Mary Elizabeth Winstead.



It’s the end of the Vietnam War, and a communist spy (played by Hoa Xuande) slips into the USA and keeps up his espionage activities, but these days he’s not sure exactly what side he’s working for. This dark satire is at times deadly serious, at others comically absurd, with Robert Downey, Jr. leading the craziness (and producing the show as well). Sandra Oh turns up, too, as does a host of Asian actors, all determined to keep you guessing as the action unspools.


Apple TV+

Colin Farrell hasn’t been a TV series regular since 1998; with Sugar, it’s the first time he’s the star of the show. He is the executive producer, too, in this modern take on the classic hardboiled L.A. private detective (think Philip Marlowe, Jake Gittes, Easy Rawlins, Jim Rockford). He’s working a Hollywood mystery in this eight-episode opener, with Dennis Boutsikaris, Amy Ryan, and James Cromwell along for the ride.




This Spring you have no excuse for not reading something good. From explosive novels, revealing memoirs and everything in between will make you stop in your tracks. No matter what you like to read, there’s a title coming out this Spring that’s sure to be just what you’re looking for. Here are a few blockbusters to get you started.



A dazzling, heartfelt adventure through the food, art, and fashion scenes of 1980s Paris is authored by former food critic, Ruth Reichl of the New York Times.

Stella reached for an oyster. It was fantastic and slippery, and the flavor was so salty that it was like diving into the ocean. Oysters, she thought. Where have they been all my life?

When her estranged mother dies, Stella has an unusual inheritance: a plane ticket and a note reading “Go to Paris.” Stella is hardly cut out for adventure; a traumatic childhood has confined her to the strict routines of her comfort zone. But when her boss encourages her to take time off, Stella resigns to honor her mother’s last wishes.

Alone in a foreign city, Stella falls into old habits, living cautiously and frugally. Then she stumbles across a vintage store, where she tries on a fabulous Dior dress. The shopkeeper insists that this dress was meant for Stella, and for the first time in her life, Stella does something impulsive. She buys the dress—and embarks on an adventure.

Her first stop is the iconic brasserie Les Deux Magots, where Stella tastes her first oysters and then meets an octogenarian art collector who decides to take her under his wing. As Jules introduces Stella to a veritable person from the Paris literary, art, and culinary worlds, she begins to understand what living a more significant life might mean.

As weeks—and many decadent meals—go by, Stella ends up living as a “tumbleweed” at the famed bookstore Shakespeare & Company. She uncovers a hundred-year-old mystery in a painting. She also discovers a passion for food that may be connected to her past. The novel is a feast for the senses.

The Art Of Knowing When To Stay And When To Walk Away\

Bestselling author Emily P. Freeman, offers guidance to when it’s time to move on from situations that no longer fit, allowing us to discover spaces where we can flourish and grow.

What do you do when you start to feel a shift and must decide if it’s time to change? When navigating big decisions about when to stay and go, how can we know when the time is right? Though we enter and exit many rooms throughout our lives—jobs, relationships, life stages—knowing how and when it’s time to leave is a decision that rarely has an answer.

How to Walk into a Room will help you identify the caution flags in your current spaces, and navigate endings even when there is no closure, find peace when you feel ready but it isn’t time, and courage when it’s time but you don’t feel ready.

For anyone standing on a threshold, here’s a book to help discern the  how, when, and what of walking out of rooms and into new ones with peace and a whole lot of confidence.



Delicious and Decadent Dishes To Enjoy And Share

Beloved actress Valerie Bertinelli returns with her most indulgent cookbook yet: 100 recipes to nourish the body and the soul.

When Valerie Bertinelli turned 60, she said, “Enough already!” and ended her battle with the scale for good. She stopped counting calories. Valerie stopped thinking of certain foods as good or bad. She quit saying no and began saying yes, finally learning to enjoy the pure pleasure of being alive – starting in the kitchen.  In short, she learned how to indulge.

With this gorgeous cookbook, Valerie shares her secrets for indulging so you can start living your best, most fulfilling life, too. Whether you splurged on fresh produce at the farmer’s market, cooked an extravagant steak dinner for one, or served an ice cream sundae bar at a dinner party, this book reminds you that indulging can take many shapes and forms.

You’ll discover the delicious recipes she cooks for her friends and family, including favorites like Garlic Confit BLT, Oven “Fried” Okra, Sausage and Olive Cheese Bites, Salmon Burgers with Quick-Pickled Vegetables, Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Sauce and Chocolate Peanut Butter Dates, and more.

Written in Valerie’s warmhearted and intimate style—including heartfelt essays about savoring big and small moments—this cookbook is a permission slip to enjoy food and— and more importantly—life



Moguls, Mobsters, Movie Stars And Marilyn

A riveting tell-all biography that delves into the extraordinary life of Hollywood’s most infamous private detective and “fixer” to the stars, revealing newly discovered shocking revelations from his never-before-seen investigative files.

During the height of Hollywood’s golden age, one man lorded over the city’s lurid underbelly of forbidden sin and celebrity scandal like no other: Fred Otash. An ex-Marine turned LAPD vice cop, Otash became the most sought-after private detective and fixer to the stars by specializing in the dark arts that would soon dominate the entertainment industry.

Otash was notorious for bugging the homes, offices, and playpens of movie stars, kingmakers, and influential politicians, employing then state-of-the-art methods of electronic surveillance and wiretapping for a who’s who list of clients for whom he’d do “anything short of murder.” He lied to federal authorities to protect Frank Sinatra from criminal liability; recorded Rock Hudson’s coming out confession to his estranged wife; moved in with Judy Garland to help her get sober; taped President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s tragic love affairs with the most incredible sex symbol of all time, and he listened to Marilyn Monroe die. It’s definitely a must-read.

Twin Photographers In The Golden Age Of Magazines

This book reveals the identical twin sisters who became groundbreaking photographers in New York during the glamorous magazine golden age of the 1930s and 40s.

The McLaughlin twins were trailblazing female photographers, celebrated as stars in their respective fields at the time but largely forgotten since. In Double Click, author Carol Kino provides a fascinating window into the golden era of magazine photography and the first young women’s publications, bringing these two brilliant women and their remarkable accomplishments to vivid life.

Frances was the only female photographer in Condé Nast’s photo studio, hired just after Irving Penn, and became known for streetwise, cinema verité-style work, appearing in Glamour and Vogue’s pages Her sister Kathryn’s surrealistic portraits filled the era’s new “career girl” magazines, including Charm and Mademoiselle. Both twins married Harper’s Bazaar  photographers and socialized with a glittering crowd, including the supermodel Lisa Fonssagrives and photographer Richard Avedon. Kino uses their careers to illuminate the lives of young women during this time, an early twentieth-century moment marked by proto-feminist thinking, excitement about photography’s burgeoning creative potential, and the ferment of wartime New York. Toward the end of the 1940s and moving into the early 1950s, conventionality took over, women were pushed back into the home, and the window of opportunity began to close. Kino renders this fleeting moment of possibility in gleaming multi-color so that the reader cherishes its abundance, mourns its passing, and gains a new appreciation for the talent fostered at its peak.




We want to let you know a little secret dog parents have known for decades: being a dog parent can lead to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, stress, and loneliness. With Americans’ ever-expanding waistlines and the rise in euthanization rates due to inflation and lower adoption levels, perhaps we need to look at dogs as more than just “Man’s Best Friend” or as a piece of property.

They say the bond between humans and dogs can lead to better health outcomes. Yes, that’s right…a dog is more than just a freeloader who can (literally) eat you out of house and home. That dog can literally save your life.

How does that work exactly? Do you sit there petting the dog to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol? Yes and no. In 2004, University of Missouri-Columbia scientists found that human blood pressure dropped by approximately 10 percent around 15 to 30 minutes after petting a dog. Sadly, for those who enjoy fried foods and the like, that doesn’t mean your cholesterol will go down.

However, according to some studies done by Harvard Health Publishing in 2015, dog parents tend to have lower cholesterol levels than their non-pet parent counterparts. Why? Because dog parents tend to get more exercise while also benefiting from the calming effect that having a dog can provide.


So now let’s talk about that exercise machine the title of this article suggests, shall we? When I was a teenager growing up in Manhattan, I had two pugs. I remember arguing with my Mother more times than I care to admit about who was supposed to walk them. Of course, getting into an argument with a hormonal, precocious teenager never works out well for anyone. Soon after, I came home from school one day to find an advertisement taped to my bedroom door. It was an image of a Dalmatian holding a leash in its mouth. The headline in the ad read, “Think of him as an exercise machine with hair.” Yes, my parents have a peculiar sense of humor. Now, if you asked me what the ad was for or who ran the ad, I couldn’t tell you if you had paid me a million dollars. I can only remember the context of it, and that stuck with me for the last 30+ years. That is way more important. So why am I telling you this story? I started walking the dogs for more extended periods and with higher frequency. Yes, I did start to lose some weight (not that I needed to at that age).

Let’s fast forward those three decades. As most of you know, my dog, Brioreo, or Bri for short, is the Spokesdog for our sister publication,  Pet Lifestyles Magazine. What you don’t know is that I have had naturally high cholesterol virtually my entire life. Both my paternal Grandmother and my Father suffered from the same. However, my cholesterol has dropped about 10 percent since I had Bri in the last two years. I have also lost 15 pounds in the previous 24 months. My blood pressure has remained high over the last three years at an elevated level but has been lower since we adopted Bri two years ago.


My point? Anecdotes are one thing. Facts are another. The reality is that Brioreo helped me get through a lot of emotional and physical angst after both our Snickers and Rolo died from different cancers a few years ago. Now, were my cholesterol and blood pressure high prior to their passing? Yes. But not as high as they were after both had died. Then, those numbers came back down after adopting Bri.

Those numbers look to be even lower as I have increased my walking distance and the frequency with which I take Bri out. I also play ball with Bri. We often play catch in a long hallway in our apartment, and Bri loves to chase the ball. Believe it or not, even small sessions of ball throwing help lower your numbers. Historically, all of this has led to double-digit declines in my health numbers.

My point is simple: being a dog parent has many benefits and little risk for health outcomes. And with Americans gaining weight like I drink cups of coffee and pet adoption levels down significantly; don’t you think it’s time for you to get an exercise machine with hair? Not only are you saving an animal’s life, but you may very well be saving your own.

Head over to your local shelter or rescue to inquire about bringing home a furrever one today that can help you live a healthier, happier life. Or, visit our friends at Best Friends Animal Society at to learn about their Lifesaving Centers and visit one today!




Iremember when my Mother brought home two Pug puppies on a whim. I was 12. My Father grew up with Pugs, so this made me extra excited. They were the sweetest, stinkiest, most rambunctious, troublemakers you had ever seen! And I wouldn’t change it for the world. We named them Yin and Yang. Now, of course, as a child you make endless promises about taking care of pets, just like cleaning the house, etc. And we all know that those promises usually end up being empty. And, yes, I am man enough to admit I made those empty promises like every other 12-year-old!

So, a kid now has two adorably troublesome puppies to contend with, and no idea how to deal with it. Like every other puppy, they needed to be trained. But my parents weren’t going to train them since I had already promised to care for these little furballs, so Mom and Dad found a trainer we could work with to help get the basics down. I believe my parents were referred to that trainer, Louis, by either our vet or the pet store, I can’t remember which. What I do recall is being a little nervous, sitting in our living room waiting for Louis to come to the apartment. I really didn’t know what to expect. At that point in my life, I had several cats, a few fish, gerbils and even pet mice. But my experience with dogs was limited to weekends with my Uncle’s German Shepherd, Sandy. And Sandy was very well trained already.


Pugs are notoriously stubborn. Especially Pug puppies. After all, the old adage is “You don’t own the Pug. The Pug owns you.” And with a lifetime of experience in this, I can tell you it is 100 percent true. When Louis arrived, we ran through leash training using treats and the like. A few days later, we covered sit and stay. Neither Pug would listen. It wasn’t until we started changing the treats, and I was constantly reinforcing the lessons that Louis had taught me on their walks that we started to at least see the beginnings of training compliance…and a bond between boy and puppies began to form. I remember expressing my frustration to Louis about how stubborn they were, and he told me that I need to make sure that every single day is a training exercise with these dogs. Because otherwise, they will fall back on old habits. He wasn’t wrong. And it was that one line of advice that stuck with me for the rest of my life that made the difference in every pet I would ever have.

By the time I was in my early 30’s, my wife Kylie and I had adopted Snickers, our first dog together. Those lessons from my childhood were still ringing loudly in my head. But neither Kylie nor I felt we had enough recent experience to train Snickers properly. We did extensive research to find the right trainer who we could work with. That is when we met Kate Perry of Kate Perry Dog Training, a woman who would become part of our family almost overnight. Kate has since trained every dog in my family as well as many of our friends’ dogs. I even brought Kate onto our sister magazine, Pet Lifestyles Magazine, as a columnist!


With Snickers we made every single day a training exercise to keep her engaged, mentally stimulated and to build a better bond. And it worked like a charm. There was not a single day in Snickers’ life that we didn’t reinforce her training. Even simple sit and stay commands at random. We also enacted the same training course and philosophy with our second adoptee, named Rolo. The bond between the four of us was incredibly strong, right up until both of them crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Fast forward to two years ago when we adopted Brioreo. The same mentality held true. Except this time, as Kylie had gone to Australia to visit her family, I was primarily on my own in making sure Bri’s training was going well and that it was being reinforced on every walk. By the time Kylie returned from Down Under, Bri was a lean, sweet and well-trained machine! And every day since, we have spent endless hours doing exercises with her, playing ball, reinforcing leash training and making sure that she is mentally and physically stimulated. At the end of the day, it is in the act of that training reinforcement as well as the ball playing sessions, that has built an incredible bond between Bri, Kylie and myself.

So, as Louis advised over 35 years ago, and as I advise daily…To have a happy and healthy dog, and to ensure a strong emotional bond, every single day with a dog is a training exercise, for the rest of his or her life!




Dr. Letitia Wright, the CEO behind Wright Place Studios, is a living example of embracing the power of the pivot. Dr. Wright achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a Chiropractic Physician before encountering a pivotal setback that propelled her into an entirely new space: the dynamic world of TV hosting and producing.

In a tumultuous world, many of us face pivots both personally and professionally. Whether they are planned or sudden, Dr. Wright believes we all have what it takes to make a successful and graceful transition. In her words, a pivot could be described as “Taking what you have and applying those skills to a new industry or way of thinking. You don’t always have to tear everything down and start over because, with a pivot, you are starting from wisdom and experience.”

We sat down with Dr. Letitia Wright to learn about the power of the pivot.

Share your background and the initial transition from chiropractic care to television hosting. Most people mistake the D.C. in my name for a nod to growing up in the District of Columbia.

Imagine their surprise when they learn the truth! Because I am a 20-year veteran of the television industry, they are usually shocked to learn that I am a Doctor of Chiropractic Care.

My childhood dream was to become a doctor, and my family always supported my dream.

Yet, despite the support of my family and my passion for serving patients, I faced financial struggles with my practice after graduation. I was always good at serving clients and easing their pain, but no one had ever prepared me for the business component of running a successful medical practice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something they teach in medical school, and I struggled to find a mentor, something I consider a critical obstacle that led to the eventual closure of my practice.

My communication skills and innate curiosity translated between industries and served me well. Realizing I could translate my skills, I transitioned into the media field—hosting, producing, editing, and graphics. I taught myself everything and learned from established experts int he field.


How did you stay resilient even when faced with such a huge setback?

Moving on from my original dream was tough. When you have devoted years of your life to something, letting that dream go does sting. It’s so important to have compassion for yourself when facing a transition, whether you chose the transition, or the transition was out of your control. It takes time to find your footing in a new industry and to start dreaming again. Being kind to myself was crucial to developing my resilience and facing setbacks gracefully. I’ve had my fair share of challenging, rock-bottom moments. Still, through transitioning into the media and entrepreneurship world, I’ve discovered so much about myself that I never would have found otherwise. I have developed as a personal and professional in unexpected ways.

You have been quoted saying that a pivot is “starting from experience.” Expand on that concept.

Our world is constantly changing, and because of that, people are also continually changing and evolving. Whenever I meet someone facing a pivot or career change, I encourage them to take an inventory of their skills and specialties. Are you excellent with customer service? Do you have a passion for sales? Knowing my strengths and weaknesses was crucial to my successful pivot. Understand what areas you are gifted in and take the time to cultivate and develop those strengths. It might require time and effort, but knowing your abilities will help you seamlessly translate them to another industry.

Remember: If you have used those skills in one area, it becomes easier to apply them to another. Any time you are facing a fork in the road, focus on the areas in which you excel, and you’ll find your way to success much easier.

What advice do you have for anyone facing a career pivot in their professional lives?

It might be hard at first but be open to the idea that all your experiences can lead to an incredibly exciting pivot and the realization of your new dreams. We constantly evolve, change, grow, and learn as we are exposed to new environments, ways of life, and experiences.

Embrace change with an open mind and focus on leveraging your experiences and skills. Be intentional about placing yourself in environments with people and perspectives that will force you to grow and expand. Every time I teach in a new country with an international business school, I am tasked with learning a new culture, new demeanor, and a new set of societal standards—this helps me remain adaptable and flexible for any changes around the Riverbend.

Don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities, even if they initially seem daunting. Your setbacks can lead to new beginnings; each experience will contribute to your growth and resilience.

What exciting developments are you currently working on?

I recently launched a second TV series,  Better World, which focuses on uplifting people by doing incredible things to improve their communities and the world. With all the negativity in the world, I wanted to spread positive media and remind people that their contributions genuinely make a difference.

For more information on Dr. Letitia Wright, visit You can also watch her on Wright Place TV and Better World on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or AppleTV.




ALondon-born native of New York currently living between NYC and The Netherlands, brings the release of Stories From The Dust, the seventh studio album this month. She’s Lucy Woodward, who has been awarded two BMI Music Awards. Additionally, Woodward has been critically acclaimed for her albums over the past two decades, including 2007’s Hot & Bothered (Barnes & Noble) and 2010’s Hooked! (Verve), 2016’s Til They Bang On The Door (Ground/ UP/Universal), 2019’s Music! Music! Music! and 2020’s I’m A Stranger Here with Charlie Hunter. Also set this year is a live recording by Woodward’s Big Band via GroundUP Music under the ensemble name Lucy Woodward & The Rocketeers.

A successful solo career aside, Woodward has recorded and/or toured with the likes of Snarky Puppy, Rod Stewart, Pink Martini, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, Joe Cocker, and Carole King.

The earlier-referenced  Stories From The Dust was crafted by co-producer/artist David Garza (Fiona Apple) and recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios on the border between Mexico and Texas. The album features bassist extraordinaire Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Tedeschi Trucks), drummer Amy Wood (Fiona Apple), Grammy-winning singer Gaby Moreno, Holly Palmer (Gnarls Barkley, David Bowie), Stevvi Alexander (The Roots, Barbra Streisand, Fleetwood Mac) and Larry Goldings (James Taylor, John Mayer).

Before Woodward’s upcoming tour, she spoke with New York Lifestyles Magazine about her past, present, and future as a New Yorker and worldtouring recording artist.

You grew up in New York, among other places. You have performed at Madison Square Garden and some of the city’s largest venues. Where were some of your first gigs as a live performer? The place where everyone I know cut their teeth coming up in New York City was Bleecker Street— particularly The Bitter End and Elbow Room. There was a massive community, and we all went to each other’s gigs to support and sit in on each other’s sets. It was the perfect place to learn your skills and learn about being in a band wedged between five different bands. It was amazing. And hard. It was the era when you were mailing postcards to your friends to remind them about your gig. Then, you start getting experienced and confident enough to graduate from Mercury Lounge, Arlene Grocery,  Le Poisson Rouge, or  Joe’s Pub. I can still smell the spirit in those venues.

What are your favorite venues for seeing live music in New York?

Nublu stands the test of time for the vibe. You always feel right at home when you walk in.  Zinc Bar and  Joe’s Pub, though vastly different from each other, give me the same feeling. You also feel safe that you’ll always see someone incredible.

© 2024 Nick Suttle

When you have an off day in New York, where are some of the places you would like to go to these days?

I always text many musician friends to see where they are that night. Recently, I texted my dear friend Conrad Korsch—one of New York’s finest bass players—to see what he was up to. His reply was, “I’m playing at Django at the Roxy Hotel tonight, come!” So off I went! The same goes for my friend Jane Monheit, who does a residency at Birdland a couple of times a year. These are all last-minute plans.

But honestly, I love wandering the streets of New York City because, at any moment, you can walk by a venue or even a tiny bar, hear music coming out through the front door as someone is leaving, and feel, “I need to be in there right now ” You really can’t let those moments pass you by. Don’t plan. Just wander and see what pulls you in.

Your latest album came out this month. What do the next 6 to 12 months look like for you?

I am so excited to play this album,  Stories From The Dust  since it’s been in the works for some time. I’ll be touring the U.S. and Europe and hitting some fantastic cities. I also have another album coming out in July through GroundUP Music called  Lucy Woodward & The Rocketeers. It’s wickedly beautiful, with wild grooves and a sort of neo-Big Band sound.

My duo project, The Guests with piano extraordinaire Henry Hey (David Bowie, Rudder), celebrates the power of the song stripped back and acoustic as we perform songs by Hoagy Carmichael, Rod Stewart, Bowie, or one of the originals. We’ll also be touring between the U.S. and Europe. It’s super different from my 18-piece brass band! I am excited to share all these projects, which are massively different from each other.

You have made music on an elevated level for decades, beyond performing with some of music’s top names for decades. What is there still left for Lucy Woodward to accomplish?

I plan to study at a conservatory in Spain for a month and learn more about percussion and Flamenco music. I took some Flamenco singing classes during the pandemic, but I need the next level of intense learning. I don’t know where that experience will lead me, but I think I need to be disciplined somewhere and do it. And just three days ago, I was thinking about making a record of hymns.

I have no idea what’s in store for me! But I hope it’s different from anything I’ve done before. I think all my albums have been very different from one to the next. I don’t try to do that; it just is what it is.

Finally, what does New York have that you can’t find elsewhere?

That deep New York chutzpah is passed on traditionally from generation to generation. And bagels. It’s not happening anywhere else, no matter how hard they try.

For more information on Lucy Woodward, visit

© Eric Morgensen © Caroline Le Duc © 2024 Nick Suttle

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Catherine Tyson-Sewall, a Social Worker and Author has been watching the state of the world for quite some time. Through her writings, social work practice, and parenting coaching, Tyson-Sewall hopes to propel parents to start realizing that parenting is building the future one way or another.

She is the author of I’m Somebody’s Mama, a humorous celebration of her life as a struggling single mother to her three children with her most recent follow-up book, Single Mama: Powerful Not Pitiful, currently available on all platforms online.

We sat down with Catherine to learn more about her approach to supporting parents.

Introduce us to who Catherine Tyson is and share about your journey into social work and family counselling.

Well, I am girl from a small island who, for lack of exposure and opportunities, could have had a very different story than the one that I have.

My journey into social work and counselling stems from being a vulnerable individual and wanting to help people who come from certain backgrounds, see the possibility of success and changing their story, and changing it again if that one doesn’t work, to just know that they have the power over their destiny.

My mom was an unmarried teenager in the sixties, who had 3 children by the age of 19, who raised us with the help of my great grandmother and church community and village. Even though we have come very far from the concept, the idea of community and village still works, and social workers main aim is to lean on this idea while doing the self-work that is necessary for success.

You believe that all parents are sowing the seeds for the next generation to become successful and self-reliant. What do you feel is one of the common misconceptions around parenting? One of the common misconceptions is that you have little clones of you and that you can do as you please with them and that is no one else’s business.

As parents, we have a duty to society to produce productive and positive citizens that can live in harmony with the rest of the world, causing as little harm to others as possible as they achieve their goals to become successful and happy individuals.

Each parent is sowing seeds every day for the next generation to either become successful and self-reliant, or not, and I believe that we can all agree that the latter will affect us all negatively

What are two tips for parents to instill strong social and emotional skills into their children?

One way is to keep the lines of communication open with your children. To find times and ways to talk to your children and develop a relationship with them in appropriate ways that match their age and stage and level of comprehension.

To also remember to sing their praises allowing them to know how important they are to you and the world while balancing it with them being aware that the world does not revolve only around them, at all times.

Another way is to help them understand accountability and take responsibility for their role when things happen that require consequences. To help them to process things through discussions, examples, consequences of their actions, etc.

Children are very smart and understand things from an early age so as we respect them as people and expect them to do the same to us and others, we are helping them to become healthy thinkers with a strong sense of self.

If you could give one piece of advice to parents across the world– what piece of advice would that be?

Do yourself and society a favor: Go love your children. Go understand what that word encapsulates and really love them! Go spend time with them. Go invest in them. Because they are so awesome!

You owe them because you brought them here; living, breathing human beings that did not ask you to come here, so you owe them and not the other way around.

For more information on Catherine Tyson-Sewall, connect with her on Instagram at @ realcatherinetyson. Her books I’m Somebody’s Mama and Single Mama: Powerful Not Pitiful are available on Amazon, and other online platforms.




How do you know if someone has pulled a fast one on you: a con, a snow job? There are just so many descriptions of this act of betrayal. Yet so many New Yorkers don’t believe anyone can con them. Especially those of us who grew up here in the 70s and 80s, which were arguably the most challenging times in New York City’s history. Well, what if I told you that was patently untrue and New Yorkers have been getting bent over for our political elite for decades?

The recent actions by our so-called elected officials in the State of New York resemble more what you would witness in a corrupt Banana Republic than in the self-described most important city on Earth. The reality is that citizens of the Empire State have been getting bamboozled for years by the very people we have entrusted to protect and serve the People of the state—and they don’t even know it.

The latest and most egregious of this kind of behavior is all tied to the proposed Congestion Pricing Zone. Let us start with the architect of this horrific piece of legislation, disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo. He approved of congestion pricing in 2019. Yet one morning last week, I opened the New York Post and saw an OpEd from Mario Cuomo’s corrupt offspring saying that congestion pricing should not move forward at this time because the state hasn’t recovered from the aftermath of COVID yet.


Um,  are we kidding? Andrew Cuomo is the main reason the state is suffering the way it is!  This is a guy who, for three years, didn’t believe he was Governor. He did honestly believe he was King. At least, that is how it appeared to anyone who understands politics in the Empire State. Notice I said “believe”—because he didn’t “think” it. He “knew” it. In other words, Andrew Cuomo’s arrogance knows no bounds. I knew Mario Cuomo on a few different levels. Was I a fan of his policies? Largely no. But I was a fan of his. Why? He was not only an incredible orator, but he also believed in balance without ego. He also believed in doing what was right by the very people who elected him to office. His son believes that it is his right to tell us what to do while we elected him. So much for the representation of the People.

Remember folks, the buck stops at the head of the table, and Cuomo was the head of the Albany table for far too long. He was solely responsible for countless nursing home deaths because of his “orders” to the various departments in state government. So now he wants us all to believe that it should be shot down because  he  says congestion pricing is wrong for this time. Um, that’s not how it works, Handy Andy. You made your bed, pal—time to sleep in it. Or, frankly, it’s time to sleep in a nice 8 x 10 prison cell. That is where Cuomo belongs. It’s the same for congestion pricing.


Despite all evidence that the entire state’s population doesn’t want congestion pricing (let alone any of our surrounding states’ citizens), current Governor Hokum (Kathy Hochul) is basically doubling down on it. Despite decades of evidence that the MTA has mismanaged the public transportation system, failed to do upgrades and basic maintenance on infrastructure, and continues to burn money on overtime and mismanaged holdings, Hochul is betting the MTA will do what is right by the state. So, who wants to bet that she is either taking a nice vig under the table, or she is just that inept? Either way, the People are the ones who suffer. And my earlier argument that we have been getting screwed for decades holds true. Why? Because at every level, we as citizens of the Empire State have failed to police our elected officials who are only here for themselves. We have been fooled time and time again. It’s time to hold these people accountable and say goodbye to congestion pricing.

“Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me for believing you.” Doesn’t that hold here since no single thing Handy Andy or Governor Hokum has promised has ever happened?



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