Westchester Life has a new home… and a new NAME!

26 Mar

What? You haven’t heard? You haven’t visited yet? What are you waiting for?

WestchesterLife is now Escaping New York!

You can find the goods HERE. Click through for all the great stories you’ve been missing!

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What I’m Thankful For

21 Nov

I’ve been totally slacking these last couple of weeks. Well, the honest answer is, I’ve been getting a new blog up and running. A blog to migrate this blog over to. One that makes a bit more sense for the here and now, considering I’m no longer “life-ing” in Westchester. I promise it will still be all the snark and sass you’ve come to love, and I’ll be sharing it with you soon.

In the meantime, it occurred to me that this might be a poignant last post on Westchester Life — a glimpse into things in this new life phase. So here goes. I’m thankful for:

  • Skype. And FaceTime. It’s allowed me to stay relatively connected to some friends and family whom I’ve just been missing terribly.
  • The concept of “time out.” Which really is more for me than it is for my toddler, right? By insisting he go sit and think about his behavior in a chair in the other room means I can go chug a shot of whiskey to dull the pain from all the whining, and he doesn’t have to witness mommy’s lush-ishness.
  • GPS. Seriously, thank the LAWD for this invention. Do you guys remember having to go on MapQuest and print out directions to get somewhere (which almost always ended up being six pages long, which required collating and of course, then fumbling in the car with multiple pages of commands.) Or, even before MapQuest, I remember having my glovebox stuffed with actual, fold-out maps (yes, the paper kind) and having to pull over to pull out a map and squint through trying to find your current location, then try to find your destination, then try to refold that stupid map back up properly?? WTF? Now that I’m in a new town, in a new county, in a new state, I don’t pull out of my driveway without first programming my navigation. I don’t care if I’m just going to Target down the street. You never know when someone can get lost… I don’t take my chances.
  • The chance to redecorate a bit. Here we are in a new house, unpacking our life… this is the perfect time to shake things up a bit. Like putting the booze cabinet in my bedroom. Why not?
  • Renting. We are renting our house here in North Carolina, because really, we don’t know a thing about this area so how would we know where we’d want to buy a house? And truthfully, we still own our house in Mount Kisco, and one damn house is plenty to worry about. So we’re renting, which is such a refreshing change to home ownership. I love that when the water pressure is a little too soft, I can just make a phone call to Miss Landlady and kindly let her know. Seriously, home ownership is overrated. (You heard it here, all my NYC rent stabilized friends.)
  • Bacon. I’m having an extramarital affair with bacon. Probably because people here put it in EVERYTHING. Seriously, I’ve had Benton’s bacon cornbread, bacon scones, bacon mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped bacon… it’s a bit scandalous. Shhh….
  • My friends. Who check in on me often enough to feel they haven’t forgotten all about me just yet. I am going through a lonely phase down here, with no one to meet for coffee or pals to have GF date nights with. I know it will happen but right now I’m grateful for all the check-ins to make sure I’m staying sane, aren’t eating my weight in bacon, and haven’t converted over to mom jeans.(Sort of, maybe a little, not a chance in hell… in that order.)
  • For not having been in Westchester during Hurricane Sandy. On a serious note, seeing the destruction caused by this bitchy storm has me dumbfounded and feeling so helpless this far away. But I’m also incredibly thankful my family wasn’t put out, and no one was injured, and our house survived. And for everyone who suffered damage and loss and inconveniences, I’m so sad, and I hope that your recovery is speedy and that you and your family are safe and warm this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What are you thankful for this year? Please share your words of wisdom, here! 

My opinion matters. Yours does too.

24 Oct

Let your voice be heard.

There are so many things on the table in this year’s election. I don’t think Aaron Sorkin himself could have written a better storyline. Ours is a nation divided, and the stakes could not be higher.

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m an impassioned liberal Democrat who uses social media to editorialize, share links and facts, promote TRUTH, and generally add to the discourse with humor, photos and whatever else is relevant. Over the last few weeks, however, my online interaction has landed me embroiled in some gnarly Twitter and Facebook debates with friends/followers who don’t believe such platforms are appropriate for political discussion.

I couldn’t disagree more.

What – you thought Facebook was just for pictures of babies, updates about epic soufflé recipe fails and witty someEcards? Sure, we love to see those things. They’re topical. Lighthearted. Cute. But really, given how much time we spend on these networks each day, shouldn’t we actually drop some real knowledge on one another? Share real, scalable content? Isn’t that where the power really lies? Don’t get me wrong, Facebook friends… I love seeing the pics you post and the funny, innocuous commentary. This is how we stay in touch for the most part — how we stay “connected”. After all, between family obligations, work obligations, Real Housewives obligations, I really do cherish the time I get to spend perusing your goings-on and such. So please, bear with me

I am simply making the case that social media is ALSO the place for us to post interesting, relevant political content. It’s called engagement. It’s called helping ensure that we all remain informed so that we can make our own evaluations and decisions! Really, shouldn’t it be all our responsibilities to make sure that “low information voters” become “information voters?”

Look, I didn’t friend you on Facebook just so I can photo stalk you (although I like to do that too). No, I friended you on Facebook because I’m interested in hearing what you have to say. And the great thing about Facebook, and Twitter? It’s opt-in or opt-out at your convenience! You don’t like hearing about how Jennifer’s potty training is going? Hide her mommy’s statuses. You don’t want to see any more pictures of cats using the words “iz” and “cheezeburger?” Hide ’em! Block ’em! Unfriend ’em!

But don’t — DON’T make me feel guilty for posting my political beliefs, my opinions, or sharing FACTS within my networks. And ladies, I’m talking to you! It’s bad enough Republicans want to take away all of our other rights, like our right to equal pay, or our right to birth control, or our right to make decisions for our bodies that we have already fought (hard) and won (fairly) for the rights to. I don’t want to have to fight for my right to party politically on Twitter or Facebook too. That’s just not cool.

Listen, I love a cat video as much as the next person, and I love knowing that my friends and followers have senses of humor and soft spots. So keep ’em coming. But the next time you get uncomfortable reading about my strong political convictions, consider exploring why you feel such discomfort. Do it for your mom, your sister, your gay friend, your daughter, your BFF, your grandmother. Do it for yourself. Explore that unease. You may find it comes from a natural fear of having your rights threatened. Which they are.

And whatever you do, whatever you believe in, whichever candidate you stand behind, ROCK YOUR VOTE on November 6th! It’s our inalienable right, our obligation as citizens, and in an election this critical, every vote counts.

Where’s the normal?

17 Oct

North Carolina State Fair. Oh, how I wanted to love you. Over the last two weeks, every person we’d come in contact with here in North Carolina (cashiers, pediatric nurse, waitresses, salesgirl at Restoration Hardware) asked us the same question – “Ya’ll goin’ to the Fair? It’s a good time, you should definitely check it out.”

So we did! Because people told us to. Lesson learned? Don’t do something just because a waitress tells you to.

Some takeaways from the Fair:

  • Deep frying is the new slow cooking. What, you didn’t get the memo? It’s no longer enough to just enjoy a slice of pizza. It’s time to deep fry that pie, ya’ll! And burgers? They’ve lost their place on the protein pyramid… now they fall in dessert territory, when sandwiched between two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts! Gluttons rejoice! As if that weren’t enough, we witnessed fried Girl Scout Cookies, fried Kool Aid, fried butter, fried cheesecake, and fried coke. And that was in the first five minutes.

The Girl Scouts of America must be so proud.

  • Full sets of teeth are not necessary or even expected. In fact, it seems to be a badge of dirty south honor to have a front tooth missing.
  • Nascar  t-shirts come in all shapes. And sizes. ALL sizes.
  • Obesity is relative. One large woman, squeezed into a Rascal scooter, chowing down on a monster sized turkey leg could look terribly obese. Until she passes the gentleman drinking his fried food through a straw.
  • Toddlers will ALWAYS choose the ride you want to throw up from just looking at. You know the one that jolts you around in a monster truck you can barely fit your legs into, with zero suspension, leaving you crippled for 2 weeks?

He can’t feel his legs.

  • I don’t think they’re showing that 47 percent video on the news down in these parts. Because the 47 percent were all rockin’ Romney stickers.
  • Candy apples are a reasonable indulgence… once every decade. Any more than that and you’ll become a member of bullet point #2.

Maybe this is the snobbish New Yorker in me. I’m guessing if New York had a state fair somewhere near Albany or Buffalo, attendees would stand out too. In fact, hubby and I found ourselves wandering through the Fair, pointing out the people who looked “normal” to us. Isn’t that something? Coming from a metropolis, to feeling like the outsider for being “normal,” whatever that means. THAT is a strange feeling.

I want to state for the record, for all my friends and followers who are fearful that I’m going to turn into a southern hick, or who are using me as a test subject as they also consider moving outside of New York… I hope this didn’t scare you off. The State Fair isn’t the best representation of the Triangle area. In fact, it’s not a representation of it at all. Where I live is not exactly pig race territory, and the sophistication/education levels in these parts is pretty high, it seems. Let’s just say this will be my first — and last — State Fair visit… 

Sooo out of my element…

12 Oct

Every time I hear a Southern accent I cringe slightly. And every time I hear a northern one my ears perk up as I try to locate the source. That’s been my week, in a nutshell.

I know it will get easier. I know it will get better. Transition is hard on everyone, and certainly aggravated with a two year old in tow, who is also feeling a bit displaced and confused. We spent every morning this week with him shrieking, “No like school!! No want to go!! No, mommmmmmmy!!” It was heartbreaking. This is a kid who’s always loved going to daycare. He loved his teachers, he loved his friends. He would race me inside the school every morning, and then practically push me out the door because he was a “big boy” who didn’t need his mama. Talk about disruption to our lives… this isn’t easy on ANY of us.

I spent a lot of this week thinking about the things I took for granted living in New York. Things like:

  • General sophistication that comes with a New York state of mind. Not that people here aren’t “sophisticated” in their own right. It’s just… different. Any New Yorker will know exactly what I mean. Are we elitist? Yup. No question. Are we apologetic for it? Nope.
  • Access to things that other people just don’t have. Like being able to sit in on a taping of “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen. Or sitting next to Richard Gere in a local restaurant. Or being in the audience for a VH1 Storytellers concert. Or getting to see the inner workings of Dan Barber’s kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I know that sounds very “celebutante” of me, but it’s true! Those experiences are SO New York.
  • The narrow, uneven back roads. The Saw Mill Parkway. The Merritt. Seriously, the roads down here are in perfect condition, they are super wide, and it’s a breeze driving anywhere. You could probably do it with your eyes closed. But isn’t there something sort of charming about winding up the Saw Mill? I never thought about it until I wasn’t doing it anymore. And yep, I miss those twists and turns and dangerously narrow lanes.
  • Relatively easy access into creative communities. I clearly need to find my way, and figure out where the creatives hang out and work and play, but for now I’m just a little bit missing my smarty pants peeps who inspire me, make me laugh and teach me new stuff.

Hmmph. Today the North Carolina State Fair opened. This is apparently the biggest deal in the world to North Carolinians. We are thinking about hitting it up this weekend, so be on the lookout for a post about fried soda, pig races and pie contests. In the meantime, go out and enjoy New York… grit, grime, bad attitudes and all. And take me with you in spirit…

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

10 Oct

The Holstee Manifesto. Click pic to get yours.

Week one in the RTP: a recap

5 Oct

Getting our pizza fix.

So we’ve survived our first week down south. Here’s a recap of what’s gone down in Raleigh-town:

  • I’m realizing how jaded, bitter, and unfriendly service people in New York are. And how there is no accountability for this behavior. Down south, service people are friendly, approachable, and genuinely interested when they say “gooooood mornin’ ma’am! How’s your day goin’ so far?” I mean seriously, ya’ll. Who knew a cup of coffee could come with such cheer??
  • Cleanliness is clearly next to godliness. Literally. Down here they are super-tuned in to both. The churches here are about the size of The Westchester. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – and streets and sidewalks are SPOTLESS. Like, eat off them spotless. People here just seem to care more about their environs. Word up to that.
  • It’s a kid’s world. This area is MADE for kids. Everywhere I turn I see a playground or park. And each one is bigger and more amazing than the last. Last night we hit up a park in Durham that hosts a “First Thursday” night, with awesome, local, totally hipster food trucks serving up everything from pizza to “peace pops” to locally crafted ice cream. Hundreds of kids were just running around, jumping, playing, doing wheelbarrow races, and generally just having an awesome, old-fashioned “kid” time while moms and dads hung out, chatted, and chowed. It was like Park Slope. In the south.
  • Bugs are bigger here. And just like in New York, they like me. A lot. I’m already covered in red, splotchy bites which I can’t help but scratch at constantly. Not cute. I’mma have to find a serious bug spray, hopefully one that won’t kill me with chemicals. Like the things on this list. 
  • People of Raleigh eat well. Really well. We aren’t exactly “set up” in this corporate apartment to be able to do a whole lot of cooking (the kitchen is great and modern, but their version of “furnished” includes one small pot and a pan big enough to cook one measly little piece of chicken in). So we’ve been eating out and ordering in. And let’s just say, we haven’t had a bad meal yet. Not even a mediocre one. From chinese food to Mexican to locavore fresh, I’m seriously impressed. And considering how important food is to my happiness and stability, the hubby is very, very thankful as well.
  • The sheer options in terms of grocery stores. No longer am I relegated to A&P as the only option in town. (Unless I counted overpriced Mrs. Greens, which I didn’t, because it was wildly overpriced.) Here I’ve got Trader Joes, Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter all within a mile or so of one another. Each one I visit is better than the last. They’re big, they’re super-stocked, they’re CHEAPER than back home, and did I mention the people that work there are FRIENDLY?? How novel!
  • Parents aren’t as concerned with outward appearances. Kids act like kids. No one here seems to bat an eye at a public tantrum, whereas back home I felt like all eyes were on me, judging, if Jack so much as made a peep in a coffee shop or cafe. This could be a game changer.
  • The weather is ridiculous. It’s October and it’s like 78-85 degrees and sunny. I sooo did not expect it to be this warm still, and didn’t pack appropriately at all for my month of “interim” living. I totally look like a Northern outcast, in my jeans and sweaters, while everyone else around me is in flip flops and shorts.

Anyone have any more NY-vs-the-world differences to share?