Friday, September 30, 2011

Louise's Restaurant Picks - S'MAC

My eleventh featured Restaurant Pick is S’MAC:

345 East 12thStreet
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
New York, NY 10003
Cuisine: Traditional; Macaroni & Cheese

S’MAC (Sarita’s Mac and Cheese) was a recommendation which I used as one of my Restaurant of the Month picks. Who doesn’t like Mac & Cheese?? And at S’MAC, there is a Mac and Cheese for just about everyone.

From their menu I have had the All-American (a tasty blend of American & Cheddar cheeses), the 4 Cheese (Cheddar, Muenster, Gruyere and a touch of Pecorino) and the Cajun (Cheddar & Pepper Jack cheeses, andouille sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, garlic and, of course, some genuine Cajun seasoning). So yummy! And so filling. Even their smallest size, the Nosh is hard for me to finish, but then again, I’m a small portion eater. I’m not sure if the Nosh would be enough for someone with a normal appetite. There are three other sizes to accommodate larger appetites; the Major Munch, the Mongo and the Partay!.

S’MAC is also an extremely budget friendly dining experience, which is one of the reasons it can be hard to find a seat in their cozy space. Not to mention how delicious their dishes are. But if you want to avoid the wait, you can place a Take & Bake order. Your Mac will be prepared by S’MAC and you take it home and bake it at your convenience. This is a great option for catering a party or for nights when you don’t feel like cooking.

I haven’t been to S’MAC in a while, but I plan on going soon and this time, trying something new!

Visit their website for more of their menu options.

Enjoy, and until next time, happy eating!

~Louise C.
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Photos from

What’s Your Number…?

A few months ago I read an article in Marie Claire titled ‘What’s Your Number?’. One of the women featured in the article, whose number was 100, stated that she wouldn’t want to date a man who had a lower number than hers for fear that he would be inexperienced.

I am not a man with a low number of sexual partners so I don’t know why I felt offended by her statement. I felt so offended that I emailed Marie Claire’s editor with my response to that woman’s statement.

Dear Marie Claire,

I had a comment about the young lady who was featured in your article ‘What’s Your Number’. She stated that she would be turned off by a man who had a lower number and would view him as inexperienced. I was turned off by her comment. Men who sleep around and have high numbers do not necessarily make better lovers. Men who have lower numbers, can still be great, amazing lovers. They may have a low number because they have been in long relationships and I would trust that they have more experience focusing on what a woman needs. Men with lower ‘numbers’ are more attentive and more doting. I am turned off by men like those on ‘The Jersey Shore’ who have a Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am attitude. I would bet my last dollar that none of the women who leave that shore house are sexually satisfied. Those types of men are just out to ‘get it in’ for the night. I can’t speak for all men, but for me, a higher number is a turn off and does not mean that he is experienced.

Thank you.


He-he, I am such a dweeb.

I think part of the reason I felt so strongly is because sex isn’t sacred anymore. It’s become such a casual thing and I think people (both men and women) are losing respect for each other and for themselves.

Sex isn’t something men have to wait for or work hard to get anymore and from the way I see women behaving lately, we could give street walkers a run for their money; only we aren’t getting paid. I know that’s a little harsh to say, but we have all become so ‘easy’. Sex has become something that is expected after two or three outings with a mere stranger. Or even after chatting at a bar for a few hours. People may or may not know each other’s last names, but they are okay with sharing their bodies in the most intimate way. Maybe I’m just too much of a prude, but I personally couldn’t bring myself to thrust my pelvis with someone I’ve only known for a few hours or days, to then thrust with someone new in the next week. Emotionally, I just couldn’t share myself with that many men. I just don’t feel like that many men should be allowed to see and touch all of this…

I may need to loosen up and change with the times, but I don’t want to. I’m okay with the fact that not too many trains have entered this station or that I only thrust with people that I love… or plan on loving.

I know that there is this sexual revolution taking place where it’s becoming more acceptable for women to sleep around as much as men do. But honestly are women really built this way? I have friends on both sides of the fence. The thrusters and the prudes. The thrusters can disconnect and say ‘it’s just sex’, and more power to them. I live vicariously through them; but as far as women go, I just don’t believe it. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’ve seen that oxytocin kick in like a motha-jumpa. Women want to bond, we want to connect and we want to be in relationships.

I’m not a part of the dating world, but I know for a fact that women like me are becoming the minority. Do men think the same way as the woman featured in the Marie Claire article? Would they think that I’m inexperienced in the boudoir because my number isn’t up to par??

Either way, I stand by what I said in my letter. Having a higher number of sexual partners doesn’t necessarily make you a better thruster. In my opinion, the people with the most experience are the ones who have been in longer relationships because they have someone to practice (and experiment) with on an ongoing basis. And since when did sex become something academic? There shouldn’t be a manual or a degree you need to obtain. Just take your clothes off and do what comes natural. And do it often. (wink)

~Louise C.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Falling into Place Giveaway

Hello everyone,

If you haven't had a chance to read my first book, Falling into Place, you can enter to win a SIGNED COPY by visiting Danfredo Rivera and following Danielle's rules on how to enter!!

Good luck!

~Louise C.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Luisa Crazy

Please forgive me for this vain and superficial post.

I wrote a blog last week about how much I love my hair and how after cutting it to a short length last year, I’m finally so happy to have it back to the length it is and how I’m never cutting it again, unless I’m trimming it…. bla, bla. I didn’t get a chance to publish the blog and it’s a good thing because what did I do after promising that I’m never cutting my hair again?? I took a scissors to my own hair to trim my bangs. I’ve done this numerous times and it’s always worked out well, but this time I went a tad too far with the snipping. Not too bad… bad enough, but it was fixable. Let me explain.

Besides Mercedes, my numero uno hair dresser, I don’t allow anyone else to style my hair. The hair salon I go to now is conveniently located around the corner from where I live. It’s so close that there are no streets to cross, I hardly ever have to wait and I am always home at a reasonable hour.

Mercedes’ salon is… um, (choosing my words carefully) it’s a little far, there is a lengthy wait and there is always a lot of ‘activity’ in the salon. And by ‘activity’ I mean whatever you want to call ‘activity’. If you can think it, I’m pretty sure it has happened at Mercedes’ salon. Just know that if you visit Mercedes’ salon your hair will look FABULOUS, no matter what sex or nationality you are. Mercedes can do hair!!

Anytime I have allowed someone else to cut my bangs, they have done a terrible job, so for years, in between visits to Mercedes, I have trimmed my own bangs and gotten compliments on the great job I’ve done. And although last week I proclaimed that I was never cutting my hair again, I now had to go to my lady around the corner to fix my mishap. I didn’t tell her what I’d done, I just asked her to trim my ends. But when she got to the short sections of hair extending from where my bangs should have ended, she asked, “Luisa, wha-happen?” in her Dominican accent. I could see that she thought I’d cheated on her with Mercedes again, but if she knew Mercedes like I do, she’d know that Mercedes would never do such a sloppy ass job.

I explained what happened and she replied, “Luisa, you no work en beauty parlor!” She fixed my hair, though. In between head shakes, sighs and calling me Luisa Crazy, she did damn good damage control.

Luisa Crazy… I think I like it. Funny thing is she doesn’t even know how close ‘crazy’ is to my last name.

Maybe I needed this hair mishap to allow me to trust others with my hair. Mercedes isn’t the only one alive who knows how to work magic with my strands. I know that, but in my heart of hearts, no one can hold a candle to Mercedes.

Here is the short version of last week's superficial blog:

My hair was like this…

(I'm not naked, I have a strapless shirt on, thank you very much...)

But I wanted a new look, so I cut it into a slanted bob, like this…

Although I love long hair, I wanted to try something new again.
So once it got to this…

I cut it shorter than I ever have, like this…

It was shorter than in this photo; and I loved it at first, but later ached for my longer hair and repeatedly asked myself WHY!!! WHY did I cut my hair to such a short length?!?!

It’s almost been a year since I snipped inches off my hair and I’m so excited that it's growing back! But that's what hair does. It grows.... Anyway, the same antsy itch that made me cut my hair last year came a knocking this weekend; but I made a promise to myself that I’m not cutting my hair again unless I’m styling or trimming it. So to satisfy my antsy itch, I bought a bottle of Semi-Permanent hair color in Copper Brown.

I love my original hair color so I don’t want to commit to a permanent color. Plus, I relax my hair so all of that coloring isn’t good.

The color isn’t Copper Brown to me. It’s more of a burgundy and because my hair was brown to begin with, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I did anything unless it caught the light. But for $4.99, I satisfied my itch. Next time, I’ll probably cut my bangs or something… I don’t know why I can’t just leave my hair alone...

That was my mistake right there; committing in writing to cutting my bangs at some point in the near future. She's right. Luisa is Crazy.

~Luisa Crazy.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Louise's Restaurant Picks - Chip Shop

My tenth featured Restaurant Pick is Chip Shop:

129 Atlantic Avenue
(Between Clinton & Henry)
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Cuisine: British

Chip Shop was also introduced to me by Daisy as one of her Restaurant of the Month picks. There are two Chip Shops; The Park Slope Chip Shop and The Atlantic Chip Shop. We visited the Atlantic Chip Shop.

Although I am British, I haven’t been back to London since I was eight-years-old (which I plan on changing soon), but I recognized most of the items on the menu from when I was in London. Items like the Steak and Kidney Pie and Ribena, brought back memories.

I also took my mom to The Atlantic Chip Shop one Mother’s Day because she is an authentic Brit who appreciated the experience.

From their menu I’ve had the Battered Cod and Chips and the Battered Haddock & Chips. The fish was delicious as is anything fried. I don’t eat like that all the time, so I needed a ginger ale after scarfing down that greasy deliciousness.

From their Dessert Menu, I've had the Spotted Dick with Custard…. I know, I felt funny saying the word ‘dick’ with my mom sitting right next to me, but she is a Christian woman so her mind didn't go where mine went. Spotted Dick is a steamed, sweet, sponge pudding with raisins or other dried fruits and it is served hot with custard.

The custard I grew up eating is called Bird’s Eye custard and it is served hot and poured over pound cake, chocolate cake, apple crumble…whichever you prefer to pour it over before you gobble it up. I almost lost my mind when I found Bird’s Eye custard in Whole Foods, so now I always have a supply in my cabinet.

I couldn’t go to a British restaurant and leave without having tea. British tea is right! And I also had to have Ribena, which is a black currant fizzy drink. Although you can find it anywhere in England, it’s not popular in America.

When you come from another country it’s always nice to come across a place that reminds you of your roots. And being that my mom is more British than I am, she really enjoyed her visit to the Chip Shop.

Visit their website for more of their menu options.

Enjoy and until next time, happy eating!

~Louise C.
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Photos from Yelp

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer

Besides mascara and lip gloss, I’m not a makeup person unless I’m going somewhere and I want to look fancy. In that case, I’ll watch a YouTube video to brush up on my eye shadow skills before I apply.

In the midst of my Proactiv trial and error, I attempted to use Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer (recommended by Gia) and LOVED IT! I stopped using it because I couldn’t figure out which product was causing me to break out only to realize that it was the Proactiv all along. But now, thanks to regular old Neutrogena and Clean & Clear (The stuff that has always worked for me.) I am acne free! But not without damage to my complexion.

I can’t fathom the idea of slathering layers of makeup on my face everyday and I’ve learned that putting too many products on my face only makes me look worse, not better. So, because I loved it so much, I decided to give Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer another try. It’s perfect for someone like me who likes things to be simple and easy to apply. It provides light coverage and although it claims to control oil, there is no diminishing oil on this T-Zone. I have to have one of the oiliest faces on the planet, so I can’t possibly hold this product responsible for not being able to control my oil. I don’t think there is a product that could control it and I actually don’t mind my oily face. It makes me look like I’m glowing… or so I like to tell myself. I just have to remember to take a tissue to my forehead before any photos are taken because I am one shiny bish.

If you don’t like foundation, Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer is perfect; but it aint cheap. For a 1.7oz tube it totals at $45 (with tax). I have a job so the price doesn’t bother me.

I love this product even more for being available in brown-girl shades. Mine is Walnut. Visit Sephora to find out yours!

~Louise C.
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Spa Castle

This weekend I made a much needed visit to Spa Castle, a slice of paradise located in Queens, just 30 minutes away from where I live. If you haven’t been you have to go!

Spa Castle opens at 6am and for their general admission price of $35 during the week and $45 on the weekend, you can stay at Spa Castle all day and have unlimited time usage of their spa facilities until they close at midnight. Who wouldn’t want to visit this place!!

There is an extra cost for any ‘extras’ you might want to take advantage of. Some are worth it like the massages and body scrub sessions and some are for someone who has money to spend, like their manicure ($20) and pedicure ($40). I’m too thrifty for a $60 mani-pedi, but with just the general admission price, you have access to so much.

Most of the pools have massage force pulsing water shooting out at your body so if you wanted to call that getting a massage, you could.






The first floors are all men or all women, depending on which sex you are. If you aren’t comfortable being naked in front of people or seeing naked people, this floor is not the place for you. But you have to go there to change into your bathing suit and the uniform that everyone is required to wear once they leave the first floor. I have no problem with my nudity or the nudity of other women, so I feel right at home with all the T&A… and V floating around the place.

In the woman’s (nude) area, there are hot tubs, massage pools, saunas and the showers. The second floor has more saunas, a food court, and lots of lounge relaxation areas. Between the second and third floors is a quiet room where you can take a nap if you are worn out from all of the relaxing you’ve been doing. On the third floor, are indoor massage pools, a pool bar area, outdoor pools and an outdoor hot tub; and on the fourth floor there is a Korean restaurant, a bar and the fitness center.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I love any place that has food and drink. At the pool bar, I had my first Bahama Mama. It was STRONG. Just the way I like it. Working in the backwards fashion, after my friend and I got tipsy, we went up to the restaurant area and ordered a tasty, delish dish of Bulgogi: grilled marinated beef served with rice of your choosing. Before we left we ordered Mocha Bubble Tea to go. I should try another flavor of their bubble tea, but once I like something, I am totally faithful to it. I think they have vanilla bubble tea and coconut bubble tea and I promise to try them… maybe. The mocha is too damn good!

There are other Spa Castle locations opening up in Pennsylvania and Texas. Take a look at the Spa Castle located in the Pocono’s:

I know where I’m driving for my first road trip! But for a nice, easy mental escape, the Queens location is perfect! You'll even forget that you are in New York.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned all of the wonderful things this place has to offer, but my words cannot fully describe the greatness of Spa Castle. You just have to go and experience it for yourself!

Spa Castle:
131-10 11th Avenue
College Point, NY 11356

~Louise C.
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Photos from Spa Castle

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Trusting Yourself More

Whether it’s real or superstition I believe in a gut instinct. My feelings aren’t always correct as I have been known to jump to imaginary conclusions on occasion, but in the past when I’ve had the strongest clearest gut feeling about something and ignored it, I’ve ended up kicking myself later for not taking heed.

Instincts are like being psychic. I’m fascinated with psychics but I don’t really believe in them. An ABC special which aired a few weeks ago only added to my unbelief. I used to like watching John Edwards, not because I believed in him, but because he would try to convince someone in his audience that they had a family member named Tony. If they still denied this after his insisting, then he would tell them to ask an older relative about Tony, because he definitely had someone named Tony coming through with a message for them. Then he would move on to an audience member who was easier to persuade. I think the psych in psychic is all about tapping into the psyche. Say that three times fast. They just ask questions and work off the answers you give them and the reactions you have to their estimations.

Earlier this year, I tried my hand at (three sessions of) therapy. I didn’t like it at all, but the one great thing the therapist told me was that I needed to trust myself more. Those three simple words, ‘Trust yourself More’, are life changing. If I’d trusted myself more, I could have avoided so much bullshit. But the B.S. has not been in vain as it has served as a learning experience.

Recently I’ve felt a nagging regarding a certain situation. Actually it’s been a few months that I’ve been going back and forth trying to justify my feelings. Or really fighting with my feelings because my gut is telling me to do one thing, but my niceness is making me do another. That’s always been the thing that’s bit me in the ass. Me worrying about how I’m making someone else feel, instead of listening to how I feel.

I was just about to express my feelings to someone when a quiet voice told me to not to utter a word. It was a quiet voice but it was so loud and clear, “Just shut up and let things play out for themselves.” Although I don’t like confrontation, I am more likely to confront someone who is close to me because I feel more comfortable and familiar with them. And I can’t be a real friend to you if I’m being phony about how I feel about something. But sometimes spilling your guts can have the opposite effect you intended. And although in this particular situation, I don’t think my words would be taken the wrong way, I’m just going to step back, let go off my reins of control and allow whatever happens to be what may.

Another area where I am allowing my gut to make decisions for me is with a very, very minor surgery I was supposed to have done today. I went to see this doctor who was highly recommended by a friend of mine, so I felt confident about him. But my confidence was shot down seconds after he breezed into the room, rattled off a few words after looking at me and walked out. Visit over.

He asked me questions and then talked over my answers. I tried to talk over him talking over me but he won the battle. It was his office after all. After scheduling my minor surgery for today at 6:30, I walked out with a very uncomfortable, heavy feeling. I spoke to the friend who recommended him and she confirmed that although he didn’t have the best bedside manner, he was a fantastic doctor. That made me feel better for all of five minutes before the discomfort returned. I mean, if someone is going to be cutting into any part of my body, good doctor or not, I need them to make me feel comfortable. So after trying to force myself to man up and move forward with this doctor, I decided to trust myself, who I’ve known for 32 years, instead of this fast talking stranger. There are other doctors who will at least sit down during the visit and take the time to hear what I have to say and actually listen to me. So instead of going forward with something I wasn’t comfortable with, I’ll be going out for Mexican!

There is a fine line between trusting yourself and running away with your imagination and through trial and error, I’ve learned the difference between a passing feeling and a definite warning. I have to say that regardless of whether I’ve listened to my gut or not, my gut has never steered me wrong.

~Louise C.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Millbrook Vineyards and Winery

There are so many great activities in New York just waiting to be taken advantage of. I only have enough money for one real vacation a year; or I limit myself to one real vacation a year so that I don’t empty out my savings account (I need to win the lottery). So in order to trick myself into feeling like I went on more than one vacation, I try to find one-day getaways and other activities to partake in. In New York, there are plenty, we just have to know where to find them.

This weekend I went on a wine tour at Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.

For $38 (A deal emailed to me by Daily Candy) I had the pleasure of participating in a wine tasting day trip in the Hudson Valley. This $38 purchase included shuttle service from the Poughkeepsie train station to the winery, lunch, a glass of wine (your choice of red or white), an informational tour of the winery and the wine tasting.

I LOVE food so they won me over with the lunch. The lunch entrée options were as follows:
  • Angus Beef Burger
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Spicy Garden Burger
  • Ahi Tuna Sandwich
I had the Angus Beef Burger. Being that the burger was included in the purchase of my ticket, the burger didn’t taste exactly how I expected. THIS Angus burger had to be one of the best burgers I have ever tasted! I wasn’t even hungry and I gobbled it up. I was supposed to have salad with the burger, but I put my salad inside of my burger and ate it all together. Everything was that good!

We tasted six Millbrook wines; three reds and three whites. I was more interested in tasting the wine than reading about what was in the wine, but here they are:

Hunts Country Red: A dynamic blend gives this wine jammy dark fruit aromas of blackberry and plum. The medium weight mouth-feel is characterized with smooth yet intense flavors of black raspberry and plum with supple tannins.

2010 California Sangiovese: This Sangiovese displays a rich, ripe fruitiness with flavors of cherry and plum and hints of spice and oak. Its smooth, soft tannins make for a wine that is delicious now and will continue to develop.

2010 Pinot Noir: Aged for 9 months is French oak this burgundian red offers deep aromas of dark berry fruits, black currants and violets with concentrated flavors of black cherry and supple, ripe tannins

2010 Tocai Friulano: Inviting aromas of lemon, tangerine /mandarin orange and pear/custard are reflected in the mouth-filling flavors. A well-balanced acidity is complemented with a supple mouth-feel and palate cleansing finish.

2009 Chardonnay Proprietor's Special Reserve: A rich, toastiness on the nose leads to flavors of soft citrus, pineapple and interesting notes of honeyed ginger and Asian spices. The well-balanced acidity makes this wine an especially good partner for rich foods.

2009 Chardonnay: Half barrel fermentation and full malolactic fermentation produced this medium-bodied Chardonnay with aromas of lemon custard, Fuji apple and pear. Soft, round flavors with hints of vanilla and papaya carry through with a vibrant acidity on the finish.

After the tasting we were served Red Wine biscuits seasoned with black pepper, White Wine biscuits seasoned with cayenne pepper and chunks of bread served with the best olive oil I have ever tasted.

The biscuits were $8.00 and the 5ml bottle of olive oil was $30.00. I decided that I could get one or the other not both. So I went the thrifty way and bought the White Wine Biscuits (If you can call spending $8.00 on a pack of biscuits being thrifty). I just couldn’t leave the biscuits there. I love shortbread and these biscuits were like shortbread biscuits with a kick.

I can’t stop thinking about the olive oil, but this is America and if I really want a good olive oil, I’m sure I can find a good olive oil closer to home. Okay, enough about the olive oil.

I also purchased the 2009 Chardonnay and the 2010 California Sangiovese. (AND they gave us discounts on our purchases!).

My only con about the tour was that I felt like it was too short. It was a beautiful day and there were acres of greenery that I wanted to explore, but didn’t have enough time because I wasn’t in charge of my own transportation. So if you want to take your time at the winery, take advantage of a car service. Either way, I had a fantastic time!

If you are a wine lover or are looking to get out of the city for the day, visit Millbrook Vineyards and Winery. With fall approaching, this is the perfect outing for a beautiful display of fall foliage.

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery:

~Louise C.
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Friends with Benefits - Adventures of Modern Mom

The Friend: Zulay Fernandez.

The Benefit: The fabulous writer of the Adventures of Modern Mom Blog (And Blogger Technical Assistant to Louise Cazley).

About Zulay and me: I met Zulay in elementary school. We also went to the same junior high school, but we didn’t become really good friends until we began talking on MySpace, of all places. Z, I and three other ladies also talk smack to each other via email all day, every day; and when you spend so much time with someone, even virtually, you can't help but become closer. Especially with the topics of some of our email conversations. Well, this is my story; Z might have another story of how we became good friends.

When I think of what ‘close friends’ means to me, the people who first come to mind are those who mirror my values on friendship and respect for others. I’ve encountered a few people who abuse friendship and take it for granted, but I’ve also encountered many wonderful people. What seems to be happening on my venture into womanhood is that my quantity of friends is dwindling to make room for the quality friends. Zulay is quality, son!

The incident that earned Zulay a huge gold star of friendship on my friendship bulletin board (I don’t really have one of those) was during a time when Zulay came across some not so nice things that were said about me. And without me uttering a word about how I felt, she contacted me the first chance she had to get me out of my funk and to confirm that no matter what anyone said about me she knew who I was and my character spoke for itself. It might seem like a little thing to her, but that one phone call meant a lot to me.

Words do hurt. I don’t care what they say about sticks and stones. Who made that ish up anyway?? We should throw sticks and stones at them while telling yo’ mama jokes, then ask then if words hurt or not. But this is about Z, I need to focus. What I like about Zulay is that although she is a hardworking woman and a busy mom and wife, she always makes time for you if you need her.

Zulay is also one of my biggest cheerleaders where my writing is concerned. She supports all of my ideas and encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone by taking advantage of all available opportunities, because, as she always tells me, “You never know.”

Who is Zulay Fernandez?
I am a Development Officer, well at least that is my title. I am more of an office manager and bookkeeper by trade, but what I would love to do is write and plan parties for a living. Not sure if that goes hand in hand, but these are two of the things that I love to do. And I recently rediscovered my love of writing and, can you imagine, I am actually sort of good at it! Who knew!!!

When did writing become important to you?
When I was in the third grade, I believe, we were told to write a poem or something, I can't remember exactly what we were asked to write, and it was going to be submitted to this big citywide contest. I wrote a small poem about my dad, and the teacher really liked it so she submitted it. Well it got picked and I won a trophy, my poem was published in a journal and my family and I got to dress up and they called my name and everything; it was a big deal!

Has it been an easy or difficult road to follow your passion?
Well, yeah it’s been difficult. For years I didn’t write anything. I just didn't continue with it. I just went about the business of growing up and being me. It wasn't until I got on Facebook and became a mom that I began posting the crazy things that pregnancy, motherhood and having a kid does to you. People started taking notice. I would post something on my status and people would respond. My sister took notice and she told me that I should just have a blog. Well my sister is rarely wrong (if you tell her I will kill you) so that’s how my blog, Adventures of Modern Mom came about! It got a good response. I still find it hard to blog because now I have two kids, and my time is not my time anymore; but I really try to find time to do it.

I am not looking to get rich or famous, by blogging (although that would be nice). For me, it’s more therapeutic. I get to let out all my thoughts and feelings on my blog and people actually relate! Very surprising. I have people who email me all the time that they are totally glad that I shared, that my stories put a smile on their face, or that they were also going through my same issue and reading my perspective helped them!

Who / what inspires you?
Wow, who or what inspires me...? That's a long list. I must say that for Adventures of Modern Mom, the inspirations are my two daughters and husband! A lot of my blog is about them. If I didn't have them in my life all these crazy, wacky things would not be happening to me... not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. (I kid, I kid) Seriously, Adventures of Modern Mom came about because I am a wife and mother who is trying to find a balance while also trying to stay true to me.

For more information about Zulay Fernandez and Adventures of Modern Mom, please visit her blog, her Facebook Fan Page or follow her on twitter @advofmodernmom.

Feel free to contact Zulay if there is a mom you would like her to feature on her Mommy Spotlight, to recommend "Cool Finds" and fun, interesting activates to do with your kids; Or contact Zulay to share your story or to simply say hello:

I am not a mom, but Zulay’s stories are so relatable that you are guaranteed to connect with her experiences. Zulay is a true inspiration to me and it’s fantastic to have a close friend to go on this writing journey with. I wish her all the best in the future of her writing career!

~Louise C.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Louise's Restaurant Picks - Cafecito

My ninth featured Restaurant Pick is Cafecito:

185 Avenue C
(Between 11th and 12th Streets)
New York, NY 10009
Cuisine: Cuban

Cafecito was introduced to me by Daisy and was the first of our Restaurant of the Month adventures. Cafecito might be my favorite restaurant. I say "might" because there is always another restaurant that could be better than the one you love. But it's been six years and Cafecito is still my number one.

EVERYTHING on their menu is Mmmmm! From their appetizer menu I have had: Papa Rellena - lightly breaded mashed potato with a beef picadillo filling; Croquettas De Jamon - golden brown ham croquettes; Bollos - roasted corn and black beans fritters; Chicken and beef empanadas.

From their entree menu I have had: Bistec De Palomilla - sirloin marinated in garlic and extra virgin olive oil, topped with sauteed onions served with white rice, black beans and tostones; Churrasco - char grilled skirt steak with cuban chimichurri sauce and lime cured onions served with yellow rice, black beans and tostones; Vaca Frita - crispy mojo drenched flank steak served with white rice, black beans and tostones; Ropa Vieja - cuban style beef stew made with pulled flank steak, fresh peppers, onions, plum tomatoes and freshly ground cumin served with white rice, black beans and tostones; Camarones Al Ajillo - shrimp with garlic, citrus and butter served with yellow rice and sweet plantains.

Cafecito's 1/2 off happy hour (at the bar), is Monday - Friday from 4pm - 7pm and only includes drinks.

Cafecito makes me feel all warm inside when I think about it. Just the name of the restaurant itself invokes warmth and comfort. The atmosphere is very quaint and cozy and the low playing Latin music adds to the ambiance. Although the space is 'almost perfect', they could definitely benefit by renting a larger restaurant space as they are filled to the max on the weekends. But hey, they've been in the same spot for so many years and it works. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Important things to know before dining at this restaurant are: you will not be seated until your entire party has arrived and they ONLY TAKE CASH. Muy importante, as we live in an age where no one really carries cash on them.

I'm overdue for a visit to Cafecito so I will be going there soon!! You should too!

They don't have a website so visit menu pages for more of their menu options:

Enjoy and until next time, happy eating!

~Louise C.
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Photos from NY Restaurant Guide


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