Let me start with a recommendation of what NOT to do when you are in New York. Don’t go to Vu Hair at the Peninsula Hotel. DON’T!!!!  Do. Fucking. Not!!! Getting my hair cut in New York has always been a treat for me. I try to go somewhere special. It’s a little way I like to spoil myself. This time I was trying a lovely sounding salon on the 22nd floor of a grand hotel. It got great Yelp reviews. I was excited. Well… Moi was in for a nasty surprise. ScissorHands did not listen to me when I told him what I wanted: three to four inches off the bottom and layering on the side.  Instead, my almost waist long hair (when straightened) was hacked to little more than shoulder length (a good 8 inches off). I was devastated. Into the lobby bathroom I went, where I cried for about twenty minutes — well, if you are going to cry like a big baby, it might as well be in some fancy bathroom. It heightens the drama. Am I right?

I always thought my hair was the most special part of me, the thing that made me pretty. My hair has always been long. From childhood, I have associated long hair with beauty. So to have it chopped so significantly… it was both shocking and somewhat devastating. It’s just hair, I know, but somehow the end result felt so brutal. Yeah, yeah, “it will grow back,” they tell me, like this is going to make things better. IN A FUCKING YEAR!!!! I now feel as attractive as a sack of potatoes.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so vain. I am more than what I look like. I know that. But even now as I write, I’m still upset about it. Traumatic.

Fuck that though. I’m still gonna roll like a gangsta. Shitty hair be damned. I shall move from the worst part of my vacation to the best. I saw my first ever concert. Going to see Florence + The Machine was the main reason for my trip. I didn’t know what to expect. Yeah, I could have seen her closer to home, but why would I do that when I could see her in Brooklyn? Makes no sense. Was it weird that I was going alone? Maybe a little, huh? I was nervous. Dealing with the unknown is always a little scary for me, but at the same time, I try to be brave. I don’t want life to pass me by. Was I going to stick out like a sore thumb? Was it going to be just completely and utterly awkward? 

Actually my dears, it was awesome. Ah Florence… could I possibly be more in love? Words don’t describe it. Her angelic aura, her super powerful voice, the way she danced in her diaphanous gown and bare feet, her beautiful bright spirit that lit up the Barclay Center. She is just so utterly lovely. Mostly she sang songs from her newest release, “High as Hope,” but there were some of her beloved classics too. Magical my lovelies, magical. I sang (yes, me!) … I even danced (if you could call it that). It was so special, a memory I will cherish forever.

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Of course there was plenty of eating. You know how I do, dollies. But I mostly stuck with my old favorites, so I am not going to bore you with stuff I’ve already written about previously. Suffice it to say, weight was surely gained. Need a fat ass to balance my awkward coiffure, methinks. And then there was the street art.

I found five Invader pieces to add to Moi collection. That always thrills me to bits.

And then I have some other beauties to share…

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Random fabulous
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Gumshoe Art, aka Angela China
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Public art installation by Derek Fordjour
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Vandal Gummy
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Piece by Buff Monster, Brooklyn
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Not Bad For a Girl, Indie184
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D*Face — somewhere of off Lafayette and Broome Street

Okay, so yeah, I have written about visiting NYC maaaaaany many times. Maybe you even got your barf bag ready, cause here Caroline goes again. But whateva, cause the place is just so beyond fabulous, dollies. I will never get sick of it, I will never stop going, and I’ll never stop writing about it. It is a constantly evolving city, and there are always new and wonderful things to eat, see, explore, and do. Still, I’m going to be easy on you and just share the highlights.

Pancakes. As per usual, I gorged myself on all manner of goodies, from my Levain cookies, to Grom gelato,  to the deservedly infamous lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar, and I finally managed to try the incredible pineapple linzer cookies at Te Company. But what completely blew my mind (or belly) into the cosmos was two delicious types of pancakes I discovered for the first time.

  • Exhibit A: The blubbery calfoutis at Le Coucou. Le Coucou is a very fancy French restaurant in the downtown area. I’d love to have dinner there but I’d feel a little self conscious going on my own for a larger meal — I’ll get over that, but CrazyKat, we have a date, okay? That, and Lobster Rumble,  girlie. The restaurant itself is stunning and sumptuous. It requires you to get a bit dressed up (but I imagine breakfast is more casual than dinner, and also you don’t have to make a reservation then). I sat my fat ass down on a velvet tuffet as the most beautiful pancake ever was set before my beady little eyes.  Oh, and do you know dollies, it was just as delicious as it looked. I loved the added touches of the cream quenelle dusted in lime zest.

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  • Exhibit B: The pancakes at Chez Ma Tante were completely the opposite. The didn’t win the pancake beauty contest like the one at Le Coucou, as they were much more rustic looking, but ooooooooh. And oooooooooooh. Okay so these had the most incredible texture for a pancake that I have yet to encounter (and yes, I did try the ones at Cinton Street Baking Company… good, but meh in comparison). These were crunchy on the outsides, fluffy on the inside, with the faintest hint of lemon, covered in maple syrup and a healthy pat of buttah (it’s good for the skin dont’cha know). And it happened to be just DEVINE. Yep, totally freaking swoon-worthy. Okay, so I should mention that technically these are in Williamsburg, not NYC, but go. Gooooooooooooo!

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Seeing an artist at work. As you know I love street art. I happened to be in Williamsburg while the Moniker Art Fair was in progress (which I went to). In conjunction with the fair, a very famous street artist known as D*Face was finishing up a piece, and I happened to see him action, which was very special for me.

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Speaking of art, another highlight of my trip was taking part in an exhibit by Candy Chang. I am a huge fan of hers, I have been ever since I saw her Ted Talk. I always wanted to write on one of her “Before I Die” walls, but I have never encountered one in my travels thus far. This, however, was just as cool, if not cooler. The exhibit was at a lesser known NYC museum, The Rubin Museum of Art. The exhibit was called “A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful.” There were two walls. On one wall people were invited to write  one of their hopes and include it with the other contributors. On the other wall, visitors wrote their anxieties. What people wrote ran the gamut from funny to very deep and real. It struck a very personal cord with me. I loved being able to share my own and be a tiny part of this beautiful collective.

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I love knowing that somewhere in this picture, is one of my own.

Treating myself. Well, the truth is, all of my vacations are about indulgence in some way. Food, art, and sometimes (but not always) there are goodies involved. I’m not really one to collect souvenirs, but I did see something quite special at Bergdorf Goodman that I could not resist. It was a bit of an extravagance, but you only live once. I am a great believer in treating oneself to the finer things, when and if it is possible, because we are the only one we can truly count on at the end of the day.  My mom always says, “I buy myself flowers, because if I have to wait for a man to do it, I might grow a beard.” Yeah well, I bought myself the moon, and strung it along my neck. I have always wanted a pretty moon necklace. I’m a Cancer, so it’s my sign. The moon is also supposed to be a representation of feminine energy/power. Who would have guessed? Me, Caroline, that’s who.

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Slightly ominous, no?

Rather than discussing all about what I got up to in NYC and recount everything I stuffed into my belly (I’ve done that before), I thought I’d write about a very cool excursion I made into Bushwick (Brooklyn). It ain’t Manhattan, that’s for sure. But what it is, is a street art hotspot. I booked a tour, and I was super excited to see what artists I would find there. It was so worth the trek! I also learned quite a bit in the process. And yeah, there was a little somethin’ for da belly too … you know how I roll.

Here’s an interesting fact I learned: did you know that street art all started because a guy was trying to get a girl’s attention? He went by Cornbread (though his real name was Darryl McCray). Sometime in the 60’s he started “tagging” the words “Cornbread loves Cynthia” all over Philadelphia. This started a trend that would spread far and wide. Others followed his example, and by the 70s, graffiti became a big deal in New York. By the 80s, it was a global phenomenon (not to mention a public nuisance). And yeah, Cornbread did win the heart of his beloved Cynthia. Graffiti was born.
In my eyes, street art is just as high an art as anything you would find at the Louvre. To prove it, I give you Exhibit A.
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It’s so fantastic, I almost die looking at it.
I went a couple hours early to scope the place out. I’m so glad I did, because otherwise I would not have seen what is undoubtedly the most beautiful piece of street art that I have ever personally encountered. It is a mash up of Rafael’s Madonna dell Granduca and Kieth Haring’s Radiant Baby. While Rafael did his work on a canvas with oils and paint brushes, Owen Dippie created a work on a much grander scale using spray cans. In my opinion, “stunning” doesn’t even come close to describing the results. So I ask you, who has the greater skill? The renaissance master painter, or the street artist? Food for thought my lovelies.
Nothing I saw wowed me in this same way, but I did get so see plenty of other cool pieces, including a couple by my beloved Invader…
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Isn’t this the coolest? I love this Joey Ramone invader!
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… but there was plenty of other stuff too. Eye candy galore! Mostly the tour concentrated on what is called the “Bushwick Collective.” This is basically sanctioned street art, where the neighborhood business owners allow the artists to beautify the space, simply for art’s sake. There is no money exchanging hands. In return, Bushwick gets to look freaking awesome. I love that. Some really famous street artists from far and wide have come to help decorate the space.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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D*Face, from the UK

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The notorious Vandal Gummy Bear by Whisbie.

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A mural of my best girl, my beloved Frida.
I took loads of pictures, but I think you are ready to eat. Non, mon amours? I think if there is one special place to eat in Bushwick, it’s the legendary Roberta’s. In fact, Bushwick and Roberta’s are quite synonymous. This uber hipster hangout is not just a place for guys with pretty beards and well manicured mustachios! Oh no! This place makes some fine and  fatty pizzas. Moi had the “white guy pizza” (though I have to say, I think I am partial to Cubans *wink*).

No my dears, I’m not going to waste my time convincing you. A picture will tell you all you need to know.

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Yeah, that hunting in the Bush(wick) is no easy task, but someone’s got to do it *burp.*

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I’m back from NYC. Somebody please remind me to stop booking holidays in the dead of winter. I freaking hate the cold! If you are going to brave the tundra,  a word of advice: $3 gloves from Target are NOT going to cut it. Why must I learn everything the hard way? Damn it!

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On day one, my first stop was to get one of my favorite NYC treats, something I’ve talked about on my blog time and time again: the divine morsel known as the chocolate chip and walnut cookie from Levain. I walked 20 min in the snow for this thing. It was worth it.

Following that, I had a browse around the Met Breuer, and I walked up and down Madison Avenue where all the luxury boutiques are. I can’t really afford to buy anything there, but I do enjoy a bit of window shopping. This penniless extravaganza culminated at Barney’s — just another in the line of many stores I went to where normal people can’t buy stuff. This is where I treated myself to a delicious robiola and truffle “pizza” and met a very unusual woman who started a random conversation with me. To say she was odd, would be an understatement. She had a giant feather in her fluffy white/blonde hair. She claimed to be Danish royalty (not like I asked LOL). For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out if she was on crack or she really was some brain addled royal–only in New York! I love it!

Day two was all about hunting Invader’s Space Invaders in downtown NYC- it’s street art of a very interactive sort. I’m sure most of you won’t be familiar with it, but it’s kind of like Pokemon Go, except these pixelated mosaics scattered through the city really do exist. When you find them, you snap a picture, and you get points. So, not to intimidate you guys, but I am the 3,169th best Invader hunter in the world according to the app. I have the frost bitten fingers to show for it.  During this trip I found a total of 10. And guess what my lovelies?!?! I just read that Invader is going to be doing an exhibit in Paris soon. I am so tempted to book a ticket. I happen to have 36 vacation hours stored away at the moment, and I desperately want to revisit what I think is one of the most amazing cities in the world, so watch this space. Adventure calls! Anyone up for it?

Aside from the above beauties (you can click on the image for a larger version), I also found some other cool street art. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

All the walking I did that day was fueled by the most gloriously ginormous wedge of French toast at the Landmarc. At $26 for tea and toast, it’s not exactly a cheap eat, but this is a Caroline must! And trust me, when it comes to food, I’ll never steer you wrong. Don’t come to NYC without putting one of these in your belly. And that leads me to my next cold weather tip: don’t be afraid to blubber up.
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So day two was spent downtown. I explored Soho a bit, snapped street art, ate some good food, and I totally wore myself out. By the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted.

Day three, however, was all about pampering myself. Really, that is the main reason I wanted to go to New York in the first place. Life had been wearing me down. I was nursing my wounds about Birdy ending things with me. Actually, I’m still sad about.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss his company. Instead of time making things better, it actually feels worse now. NYC was supposed to be a “pick me up.” I had my yearly hair cut, this time at Oscar Blandi — and I have to say, my stylist (her name was Ingrid) did a really awesome job.  A week later and I’m still admiring it. I had a gorgeous meal at Benoit, and then I went on to browse my favorite 5th Avenue shops: Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. I made a nuisance of myself  at the cosmetics counter and sampled all the fab new perfumes. That’s always fun for me.

The most special part of that day, however, was my visit to Tiffnay & Co. You see, there was this necklace

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And while I didn’t get breakfast at Tiffany’s, I was served some lovely green tea on a bitterly cold day. 

I planned to buy it for by birthday, but then I decided why wait? Wouldn’t it be more special to buy it at Audrey Hepburn’s Tiffany? Um … yes. It would. This necklace has a significance to me. It’s a gift from me to me. It’s a reminder that even if no one else recognizes my worth, I do. It is a reminder that I am deserving and good, no matter anyone’s opinion.  I am tired of waiting for a man to treat me well. I’m going to do it myself where and when I can. Life is too fucking short for anything else.

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Henri Rousseau’s The Dream at the MoMA. It almost made me cry.

Day four was spent in my favorite NYC museum: the MoMA, where I got to feast on eyes on the most beautiful treasures from Rousseau to Van Gogh, and there were plenty of Andy Warhols thrown in for good measure. I don’t know about you guys,  but for me, food feeds my belly and art feeds my soul. This is the kind of stuff I live for.

My final day was a quiet one. I went to my favorite NYC happy place: Murray’s bagels, and filled my belly with my quintessential NYC eat:

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This was followed by a peaceful morning at  the Strand bookstore, before making my way to the airport (where I was practically molested as I was going through security by the way).
… and that’s it dollies. There’s so much more to show you. If you want to check it out, come visit me over on Instagram. I took plenty of pictures.

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Sometimes the head knows something, but the heart needs to catch up. Such is the case with me. During the day I’m so busy with work that there is little time to be sad about Birdy, but when I do have a few moments alone to think, sorrow seeps in through the cracks. I wish I didn’t care. I wish I was one of those strong women who just immediately recognizes her worth and never looks back. The way things went down, I can only extrapolate that despite my feelings for him, Birdy neither respected or valued me. That’s what hurts the most, coming to grips with the realization that I meant nothing to him.

Despite this, I am handling this somewhat better than  I would have expected. Because Birdy was quite distant in the first place, I am not feeling his loss that traumatically. I was always profoundly aware that I never “had” him in the first place. He would take hours to return my texts (if at all), and he would often keep me hanging about if he would spend time with me on the weekend. I’d have to drop my plans at a moments notice if and when he decided to grace me with is presence– not cool … but I always jumped when he requested, and I have only myself to blame for that. That’s something I have to work on. Rationally, I know what I’m supposed to do here. I’m supposed to be thankful for the fun times we had (and I felt that there were many), and take what I learned about myself and how I deal with the opposite sex, and move on to something more fulfilling. There are seven million people in the world. Surely amongst them, someone is a match for me.

Perhaps I have to redefine Prince Charming. Maybe Prince Charming is just some shiny asshole in tinfoil. Who would want a knight in shining armor? All pristine and bright but never tested in battle. Maybe what I am looking for is a man who is as tarnished and battle worn as myself.

I wanted to take some kind of action. What could I do to get my head into a happier space while my heart could catch up with reality? I know one place where sadness has a tough time reaching me: New York City. Just like Superman retreats to his Fortress of Solitude, Caroline too feels recharged when she is back in the The City (it’s something of a spiritual homeland for me). What will I find there? Well actually I won’t be looking for anything. I just want to eat a bagel at Murray’s, walk through Central Park with a Levain cookie in my hand, and get lost in one of the world’s most amazing cities as I immerse myself in art and culture. So that’s exactly what I did. I booked myself a very last minute holiday.

It’s very unlike me to make travel decisions without great forethought, but the weekend following New Years, I’m off to New York for five days. I got a fab deal! I think it might be exactly what I need. I need to treat myself the way I want to be treated: with love, kindness, and dignity. This is what a woman who loves herself would do, so that’s exactly what I did.

I want to thank all of you for your very kind words and sweet comments on my previous post. Although I have only “met” a couple of you, I genuinely feel like you are my friends. It means so much to me the way that you have been my support system. I adore you ladies!

Thank you ❤ and happy holidays to you all!

When I left for New York City I was feeling low. Really low. I had just been fired. When I got to the airport the next morning, my eyes were still swollen from all the tears. It was awful, but it was also perfect timing. Why? Because I can’t be sad in New York, it’s impossible for me. I don’t know any other place in the US where one can immerse themselves so deeply in art, beauty, and good food. NY is nothing short of Paradise for me.

My first day was spent browsing the Whitney (which I wasn’t terribly impressed by), but on my second day I had planned a little afternoon tea with the dear Adele. No, I had never met her before, but I knew we were going to be great friends. By the time we met, I felt like we already had a bit of history together.

But first, I got my hair done at Warren Tricomi on Madison Avenue (after stuffing a sinfully delicious Levain cookie in into my belly). I got an awesome hair cut from a guy called Anthony, and I left the salon feeling like a million dollars. I was ready for my visit with Adele at the Neue Galerie, only a few steps away.

The Neue Galerie is much more my thing than the Whitney. In fact, it’s exactly my thing. The focus is on early twentieth-century German and Austrian art. They have a lot of paintings by Gustav Klimt, one of my favorites. The painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer (aka Woman in Gold) is probably it’s most famous inhabitant. At $135 million, she is the most expensive painting ever to be purchased. Back in 2006, there was great controversy  and a lengthy legal battle surrounding her move to America. She was stolen from a wealthy Jewish family by the Germans in Nazi occupied Austria.There is an absolutely wonderful movie about this painting called Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren. It was a real tear jerker for me. Maybe it got me so deeply because not so long ago I thought I would end up moving to Vienna, or maybe  it’s because my grandmother’s grandmother was an Austrian Jew herself. She came to this country when she was already an old woman, but she was the first of our family to make the journey. While aesthetically this is not my favorite of Klimt’s paintings, the story behind it gives it great meaning and beauty to me, and so it was a great pleasure when I was finally able to meet Adele in person.

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As with any painting, the images you see in books or on the computer screen never come close to standing right in front of the real thing. You loose the sense of scale and texture. You loose the feeling of luxury conveyed by the heavy usage of gold leaf. I like Adele. She is a true woman. While her body is painted in a very two dimensional format, her expression is definitely complex. Although surrounded by opulence her face has a kind of disquiet about it. She looks unsure of herself, questioning, slightly tired … hmmm, maybe we are related LOL.

Adele was surrounded by some other beautiful examples of Klimt’s work:

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Pale Face, by Gustave Klimt –Who knows this could be one of Adele’s friends. Many of Klimt’s subjects new each other. I think I shall invite her along for tea and cake too. I like her face.
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Forester’s House – a little cottage where the artist was known to stay. I think I should like to live there, it’s tres charmant!
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Girl in the Foliage, by Gustav Klimt: this one looks like she is going to go mental if we don’t invite her for cake too… better reserve another seat at the table.
Alright, it’s tea time. Housed in the Neue Galerie is Cafe Sabarsky. I have been to Vienna twice, and I can tell you, this cafe would not be amiss there with it’s discreet and unrushed service, the dark wood paneling, and the glow of the chandelier above. Sitting there I was flooded with so many memories. Thank goodness I was armed with my fab new haircut and these beautiful ladies by my side or it would have been quite likely that I would have teared up a little. Nope, instead I focused on the tempting cakes on display. Let’s do this proper and order the Sacher Torte, shall we?

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Now to the nitty gritty, the cake! When you look at this slice of cake, or any slice of Sacher Torte for that matter, I have found that they always look a lot more chocolatey than they are. Except for the slick layer chocolate ganache on top, in the actual cake part, the prominent flavor is apricot believe it or not. There is a layer of almost invisible apricot jam in the middle of the cake that is meant to keep this very dense cake moist. The chocolate flavor pretty much all rests in that glossy coating. While it would be lovely if this cake offered an intense chocolate hit, I wasn’t disappointed, because I’ve had this cake in Austria, and I knew what to expect.  I just wanted to relive a memory … food is awesome like that. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this cake as a NYC must eat, I would most certainly recommend a visit to the bijoux beauty that is the Neue Galerie, and of course, some tea and cake at Cafe Sabarsky… just maybe a different cake LOL. I’m sure Adele would appreciate a chance to shoot the breeze. She has an amazing story to tell.

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First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to the kind comments you left me on my last post. I was really feeling low. There are times when this world seems like a very cruel and dark place, but you helped to remind me of the good things.

In less than a month, it will be Valentine’s Day … again. Last year, I thought for sure that by the next time this holiday rolled around, I would have rediscovered love. That didn’t happen. That’s the bad news.

My dad taught me something cool when I was a little girl. When I had a problem, and I would cry, he would let me cry about it for a while, and then he would ask me, “okay, so what are you going to do about it?” It taught me that there was a time for tears, and a time to take matters into your own hands.

So now, this good news part is about me telling you how, in my own small way, I have decided to do that. Because as much as I don’t mind being 100% real and telling you when I feel low, I sure as hell don’t want to be the type of woman that people feel sorry about (or to spend loads of time feeling sorry for myself, for that matter). Yes, it’s natural for a girl to go through low points, but I believe that truly good women do not stay down. I believe they make the effort to pick themselves up.

In my own frivolous way, this is how I have chosen to do that: I am going to spend Valentine’s Day in New York. For four days and three nights, I am going to give myself the best ever Valentine’s alone that a person can have. I am going to the museums, I am going to hunt street art, I am going to browse around Barneys, Bendels, and Bergdorfs, I am going to eat burgers and stuff my belly with fancy cake, I am going to get my hair done at a chic salon, and I am going to the MET for the first time to see an opera. It’s going to be F’ing freezing, but I don’t care. Some overpriced gloves and some new boots will take care of that. What I will not be doing is sitting around at home crying about being alone. I’m going to be bad ass with a fat ass LOL. I am so looking forward it.

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