To Do Around NYC

Bored? Go here. Enjoy yoself.

  • I Went on a Solo Date to See Swan Lake Now I’m Hooked on the Ballet

    If you live in Bed-Stuy and wondering who’s been playing Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at max almost volume daily for the last serval months, it’s me. I cannot tell you when I became such a huge fan of classical or what prompted me to even give it a listen, but what I DO know is classical is awesome and I can’t make it through the day without it. It centers me and keeps me sane.

    So how’d I go from blasting Swan Lake at home to having a near front row seat to the ballet? I’ll tell you. It all started with a Facebook post. Some people talk about how folks share too much on social media. But let me tell you if it wasn’t for a friend sharing that she and her husband were going and the particular performance they were attending was starring Misty Copeland I would have never known.

    As much as I enjoy listening to Swan Lake, Op. 20 on repeat daily it never dawned on me to get tickets to actually see it. So you see social media has its useful moments.

    What is Swan Lake about?

    I’ma give you the short version with no spoilers. It’s about Prince Siegfried coming of age and finding a bride so he can become ruler of the kingdom. There’s a ball (isn’t there always a ball?) and the most beautiful women from near and far attend to grab his attention and his heart. None do. During the party, his mother, the queen gifts him a crossbow. As he sees his carefree single days coming to a close he hauls ass out of the party and into the forest.

    While in the woods, he sees a swan but before he can shoot it with his crossbow it turns into a beautiful woman. He approaches and learns her name is Odette and that she’s under an evil spell cast by von Rothbart. The only way to break the spell is to declare his love and fidelity to her. From there, things happen and shit gets wild as we see the lengths two people will go to break the spell and be together.

    Getting my ticket

    After reading about my friend’s excitement I knew I had to try and get a ticket for myself. This is, after all, Misty Copeland. The first Black woman in 2015 to be appointed Principal Dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. I had always been a fan of hers and as a Black woman, newly in love with classical, I understood the importance of seeing her in this particular production.

    Now in my mind, I thought the ballet was something that rich people did because they were the only ones who could afford it. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I was shocked to see so many affordable seats. I grabbed a seat to the far right of the stage with a slightly obstructed view in row N for $75. This was the closest I was going to get without blowing my budget, cause like most things where you sit determines what price you pay.

    Once I had my ticket I was hyped. I finally put my planner to use and marked the date which was exactly three months away on June 26. This was a night that I would take myself out on a solo date to see my very first ballet.

    Why did I go to the ballet alone?

    I’m always down to go somewhere alone with Jeff. It’s our time to reconnect with one another and do things that we want to do as opposed to the kids dragging us all over. But, there are times where I want to be alone to reconnect with myself. Yes, I’m home alone all the time with the kids in school, but I’m not really going anywhere besides Target and the market. I spend most of my days in the house and while I’m quite happy about that there are days where I want to dress up just a little and indulge in something that’s going to bring me joy. Not that Target doesn’t bring me joy, but let’s face it there’s no comparison between Target and The Met Opera.

    The Opera House

    swan lake misty copeland valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Since this was my first time at the ballet I was worried about what to wear. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry too long as I learned the American Ballet Theatre has no dress code. The only exception to that rule is for galas and special events, obviously. Allowing people to come as they are leads me to believe they want you thinking less about you’re gonna wear and more about the performance you’re going to experience. I couldn’t agree more.

    When I arrived at The Metropolitan Opera the lines were outside the door and almost at the iconic water fountain. It seemed like all of NYC turned out for this performance and I was ecstatic to be a part of it.

    I’ve never been to an opera house and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. From the rich red carpeted floors and thick cushioned seats to the stunning snowflake like chandeliers and brass accents. I was not prepared for this kind of luxury. I had to restrain myself from looking like deer in the headlines, which I probably did anyway since I can’t control my facial expressions. But for real, this place is breathtaking. Those private donations be large, okay.

    swan lake misty copeland valerie pierre mommyrandr

    swan lake misty copeland valerie pierre mommyrandr
    The performance

    As the lights dimmed and the orchestra began to play, I felt the tears well up inside me. I had to tell myself to get it together but then Misty glided across the stage and I lost it. There I was weeping thug tears in the darkness and Act 1 wasn’t even 30 seconds in, and I would remain emotional throughout all four acts. It was magnificent. What parts? ALL. OF. IT.

    I looked at these performers captivated as they beautifully executed intricate routines on their toes with perfect posture. I wanted them to teach me their ways despite my arthritic knees and achy back. And when I wasn’t watching the performers I closed my eyes to take in the sounds of the orchestra. It’s one thing to listen to Swan Lake at home and quite another to be in the room with it truly hearing it. It was an otherworldly experience, one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    swan lake misty copeland valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Photo Credit: Misty Copeland in Swan Lake by Gene Schiavone
    Getting tickets to my next ballet

    Now that I’m hooked I gotta get my coins ready for the fall season. Tickets go on sale starting July 22. I’m not gonna play around cause I know they will sell out. I’m not trying to be so far on the right side of the stage again. I need to see EVERYTHING. Right now I have my eye on the 2019 Fall Gala even though I really wanted to see The Nutcracker but that’s in Cali. But honestly, it really doesn’t matter to me what I see I’m just trying to go again to bathe in the beauty of the ballet.

    Have you seen Swan Lake at The Met or at any other location? How did you like it? What other ballets do you recommend? Share with me in the comments.
  • A Mommy Night out on Broadway at Pretty Woman: The Musical

    This post is made possible by support from Pretty Woman: The Musical. All opinions are my own. This post will have gif’s from the play and movie, cause they’re fun.

    Pretty Woman: The Musical valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Pretty Woman is hands down one of my favorite movies of all time. My mom bought the VHS on a whim and when I saw it I knew it would become apart of my soul. Almost 30 years later I watch it like it’s my first time, only I know all of the words and the facial expressions.

    So when I got the opportunity to see the Broadway version Pretty Woman: The Musical I jumped at the chance to go. I only had one extra ticket and so I hit up my Broadway loving bestie Allaya for a pre-Mother’s Day mommy night on the town.

    Pretty Woman: The Musical valerie pierre mommyrandr

    If you don’t already know, Pretty Woman is about a lady of the night (Vivian Ward) who on a chance encounter meets a lost out of town billionaire (Edward Lewis) who can’t find his way back to Beverly Hills. And because he can’t drive his borrowed Lotus Espirit our girl Vivian has to drive him back to his hotel. Once there they make a deal that she would work for him for the rest of the week by being his date for his business events. Sparks fly and hilarity ensues as Vivian learns to navigate his stuffy all business world, and through her, he discovers there’s more to life than making money.

    Why should mom friends link up for Mother’s Day?

    Allaya and I were so happy to be getting out of the house together. It had been almost two months since we’ve last seen each other. Yeah, we talk every day in our group chat, but nothing beats that face to face connection especially with Mother’s Day approaching. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate each other as mothers.

    Is the musical exactly like the movie?

    For the most part, but there are some changes to it. I mean, it’s Broadway, of course, they’re going to jazz it up and put their spin on it. Without spoiling too much, I will say I thought the entire cast did an amazing job of taking these iconic characters and making them their own.

    Do you need to see the movie to enjoy the musical?

    The long and the short answer is, no. You will enjoy it just as much as a person who’s seen the movie a million times. But because I’m such a huge fan of the movie, yes you should watch it. It’s a classic and everyone needs to see it at least once. You can rent it on Amazon for $2.99.

    How do you get tickets and how much are they?

    Pretty Woman: The Musical takes place at The Blue Banana Club also known as the Nederlander Theatre in Times Square, located at 208 West 41st Street. 

    Pretty Woman: The Musical valerie pierre mommyrandr

    For Mother’s Day leave the kids with dad or granny and gift your mom friends (and yourself) tickets to see this really great show. And because I encourage mom friend bonding use code MOM1 for discount tickets for as low as $59.

    Quick tips on how to prepare for your pre-Mother’s Day night out to Pretty Woman: The Musical

    Take a bath or shower while listening to Prince

    Make sure the kids don’t hear you leaving so they can’t ask a thousand questions

    Enjoy stepping out of the house kid free

    Grab an Uber to the theater

    Have fun

    After you’ve seen Pretty Woman: The Musical (or if you’ve already seen it) let me know in the comments your thoughts about it.
  • It’s Prosecco Day! Celebrate with These Products, Services and Recipes

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    It’s National Prosecco Day! A day that we celebrate the nectar of the gods. So what exactly is prosecco? It’s sparkling wine. If you’re thinking it’s another name for champagne you’d be wrong. Why? Cause for one they’re two different things made in two different places. Champagne is produced in France and prosecco produced in Italy. They’re also made in completely different styles which is one of the reasons why you’ll find champagne usually costs more than prosecco. Wine Folly has an excellent breakdown of their differences that’s worth checking out. The more you know.

    So, how does one celebrate National Prosecco Day? Well, one by drinking it and the other ways are:

    Prosecco Pong

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image: Amazon

    If you know how to play beer pong then you know how to play prosecco pong. That game comes with 12 wide neck plastic recyclable champagne saucers and 3 ping pong balls. All you need to add is your favorite prosecco. Also, check out Tropical Prosecco Pong and Prosecco v. Beer.

    BUY: Game

    Prosecco Made Me Do It by Amy Zavatto

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image: Amazon

    This coffee table cocktail book contains sixty delicious drink recipes paired with bright, fun, original artwork by Ruby Taylor. Also included: a brief history of prosecco, purchasing and serving tips, and a guide to cordials, syrups, and liqueurs.

    BUY: Book

    Be There In A Prosecco tee

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image: Amazon

    No description needed. I got mine already. The material is soft and a little stretchy. They are true to size. I got XL cause I like my tee’s baggy. Get yourself one, and one for a friend.

    BUY: Tee

    If you can read this…socks

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image: Amazon

    Send silent messages across the room with these “If You Can Read This Bring Me Prosecco” socks.

    BUY: Socks

    Antica Farmacista home scents

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image: Amazon

    I love a good house scent and this selection of prosecco home fragrances is right up my alley. It has top notes of satsuma citrus balance with subtle floral notes of muguet. Apricot and passionfruit complement the sweetness of sugared black currant.

    BUY: Diffuser BUY: Room Spray

    Prosecco pamper set

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image Credit: Seven and Six Cosmetics

    This made to order bath set comes with a face mask, prosecco bath bomb, mini bath bombs, Himalayan salt, charm bracelet, bath oil, cruelty-free soap, and face towel.

    BUY: Pamper Set

    Marie Hunter candle

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image Credit: Marie Hunter

    This black candle has a 90 hour burn time and features top notes of Satsuma citrus balance with hints of muguet. Apricot and passionfruit complement the sweetness of sugared black currant.

    BUY: Candle

    The Bubble Tap Trailer

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image Credit: Bubble Tap Trailer

    If you’re on the west coast and you’re having a party you can reach out to The Bubble Tap Trailer. Their self-containing vintage trailer will roll up to your event filled with bubbly ready to serve to all your guests.

    Visit a local wine shop & discover something  new

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    After passing Tipsy in the heart of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn for the thousandth time, today seemed like the perfect day to finally stop in. I went in to get a look-see and to try a new bottle of wine. I got a bottle of TreCase Prosecco. I’m going to save it for the weekend while the kids are away. I suggest you visit a new wine shop and try a new bottle of wine. You never know what you might find.

    Minibar Delivery

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    Image Credit: Minibar Delivery

    Did the liquor store close? Or did it run out of your favorite? Don’t fret cause Minibar Delivery has your back. Order wine through your phone and have it delivered to your door. The app is on droid and apple. Just drop your address and see if they deliver to your area. If they do, order one of their top-rated proseccos (La Marca Riondo, Ruffino, Mionetto, and Bioldo) and whip up one of their yummy recipes:

    Frozen Peach Bellini

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr
    A summer version of an Italian classic, this frozen cocktail is everything you need to keep cool. The classic Bellini features prosecco with a splash of peach puree. We’ve added a splash of mango nectar for a blended frozen favorite.

    3 cups frozen peach slices
    1 cup mango nectar
    Your favorite prosecco

    Blend peach slices and mango nectar until smooth
    Fill champagne flute until half full
    Top with prosecco
    Garnish with peach slices

    Aperol Spritz

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Transport yourself to Italy with this delicious summer drink that’s on the top of everyone’s cocktail list these days. The delicious combination of bitter Aperol with sweet Prosecco make this a refreshing treat that’s beloved by all. It’s easy to make, and even easier to drink.

    4 oz prosecco
    2 oz Aperol
    1 oz soda water
    Orange wedge

    Fill a large wine glass with ice
    Add Aperol, prosecco, and soda water
    Garnish with an orange wedge

    Plum Drum Prosecco Smash

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    This prosecco cocktail is sure to get any party started. Does your prosecco need an upgrade? Try our Plum Drum Prosecco Smash.

    2 plums
    6 thyme sprigs
    1 lemon
    2 oz simple syrup
    1 bottle of Prosecco

    Peel and chop two plums
    Muddle with the thyme simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
    Add ice and shake.
    Pour strained into a glass and top off with prosecco.
    Garnish with plum slices and thyme sprig.

    Lemon Lavender Bubbly

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Simple yet classy, this prosecco cocktail is sure to impress all guests (even your fanciest friends).

    2 oz lemonade
    ½ oz simple syrup

    In a champagne flute stir lemonade and simple syrup
    Top with prosecco
    Garnish with lavender

    The Blueberry Sparkler

    national prosecco day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    The drink everyone celebrates with just got an upgrade. Upgrade your party bubbly and serve this at your next soiree

    2 oz light rum
    1/2 oz lime juice
    1/2 oz simple syrup
    Mint leaves, lime wheel, blueberries

    Muddle blueberries and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker
    Add rum, lime juice, and simple syrup and shake
    Pour into a glass with ice and top with prosecco
    Garnish with lime wheel, mint leaves, and extra blueberries

    Share in the comments below how you plan to celebrate National Prosecco Day.
  • 10 Things You Can Do To Celebrate National Book Lovers Day

    National Book Lovers Day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    August 9th is National Book Lovers Day, and bibliophiles all over the globe are about to get lit.

    If you don’t know what a bibliophile is, simply put, it’s a person who collects and loves the hell outta some books. There, see, by learning a new book lover term you already did one thing to get the party started. Here are nine other things you can do to keep the celebration going:

    Visit your local bookstore

    National Book Lovers Day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    As much as I love B&N I also make it a point to support my local independent stores. These stores service and support the community in ways that big chains don’t. My favorite independent store is Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene BK. They’re small but pack a powerful punch with their carefully curated selections and cozy atmosphere. I never walk out empty handed.

    Discover a new genre

    We all have our favorite categories to read but what if we decide to skip historical fiction (my fav for the past couple of years) and venture into the sci-fi section. Or instead of choosing fiction look at some non-fiction titles. You’ll never know what your hidden love is if you don’t go exploring.

    Start a new book

    We all have a stack of books that we’ll start “tomorrow”. Yeah, two years later the book is still there with 20 books stacked on top of it. Today is a great day to choose one, crack it open and read it through to the end. I have more than a dozen but here are 5 that will try to finish before the end of the year.

    Click on the title to learn more
    Finding Gideon
    Children of Blood and Bone
    The Perfect Nanny

    Get a library card

    National Book Lovers Day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    If you don’t have one then you owe it to yourself to carry yo ass to your nearest library and get one. And if you do have one, then head over and check a book or two out.

    Continue a book you stopped reading

    Our shelves are filled with books we’ve started and for whatever reason, never finished. This a perfect time to continue where you left off.

    Sniff some old books

    Only a true bibliophile will understand me here. There is something so alluring about opening a book, burying your face in its pages and inhaling deeply. It’s intoxicating, especially when the book is really old. The yellower the pages the more you wanna sniff it. Am I the only one who wants and old book air freshener?

    Signup for a Goodreads account

    National Book Lovers Day valerie pierre mommyrandr

    Yeah, yeah I know you don’t need another social account or log in to remember. But if you’re a book lover then this will be the only book based platform you’ll ever need. You log in and from there you can discover, rate and have conversations with fellow book lovers, and because you can connect it to your Facebook account you’ll be able to see your friends suggestions and ratings.

    Donate books to the less fortunate

    Contact your local libraries, schools, shelters or elderly homes etc. to find out about their book donation policy. You can also set a stack on your stoop and passersby like me will most def go through what you’ve left out. Whatever you choose, don’t throw them in the trash. Books do not belong in the trash.

    Give the gift of a book

    Who doesn’t love presents? Give someone you love the gift of a book they’ve been dying to read or a gift certificate so they can pick out their own book.

    How are you going to celebrate National Book Lovers Day?