Days 30-34: The Sweet Life

photo 2100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures, so I’m dedicating 100 days to experiencing something lovely and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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Day 34:  So Nice We Did Cold Spring Twice

Sadie and I ventured to Cold Spring earlier this summer and absolutely adored it so, when decadence is nice, why not do it twice? I woke up this morning with a clear schedule so I scooped up my pup, hopped the MetroNorth Train and went right back again. The weather was pure perfection and we picniced along the banks of the river, focused on fully enjoying this little slice of the sweet life. Sadie hopped around in the grass and, top off the day, she got her first taste of ice cream! Pure heaven.

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Day 33: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Indulging in life’s good things, great and small, is a privilege. I’m thankful every day for those who have helped me when I’ve struggled and today, I wanted to dedicate a Day of Decadence to giving back. Joining with countless others who are financially supporting ALS research through the ALS Association, I joined in the fight by doing my own Ice Bucket Challenge. Please consider donating to this wonderful foundation or your own charity.

Day 33 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Day 32:  Dog Days at Astor Wines

I love wine almost as much as I love my puppy, so when I heard that Astor Wines in Manhattan was hosting a Dog Days celebration, there was no question we would attend! Sadie and I enjoyed lots of treats – of the dog and not-dog variety – and she even helped me pick out a few goodies to take home! Such fun!

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Day 31:  Friday Night Wine and Nutella Macarons

We’ve discussed my love of “quiet Friday nights at home” before, and tonight was no exception. It was a long week, darlings. Long. Long. Oh, so very long. I probably could have gone to a Broadway show or joined friends at a happy hour, but I really just wanted good wine and naughty dessert. No shame in giving yourself exactly what you want! Actually, what you need. So sip and nibble I did. And it was marvelous!

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Day 30: La Burdick Chocolate Cafe

My love for dessert is no secret. It’s a lifelong love affair that I have no intention of ending, particularly because of days like today. Strolling home from a client’s apartment, paint in my hair and sore muscles from various tasks that fall under “interior designer”, I was ecstatic to stumble onto one of the most charming – and decadent – cafes in New York: La Burdick. The moment you walk through the door, soft French music plays in the background and the seductive scent of melted cocoa convinces you that you have nowhere to be, nowhere to go, pull up a chair and indulge. Don’t mind if I do!

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    Day 29: Ohm Sweet Ohm at Oasis Day Spa

    Day 29 Oasis 100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures, so I’m dedicating 100 days to experiencing something lovely and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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    Day 29: Oasis Day Spa Aromatherapy

    There are massages that are good. Then, there are massages that transport you to a state of hypnotic bliss and leave you so relaxed you momentarily forget how to walk properly. For those massages, I go to Oasis Day Spa. I’ve been going there for years, enjoying a constant level of transcendental “ohmmmm” that has yet to be equaled.

    So when Oasis invited me to try their new Summer/Fall seasonal aromatherapy massage, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough!

    Theirs is a true oasis, located at One Park Avenue down a pseudo-secret staircase (outside the main lobby, to the left, look for their golden sign). As you descend, you can already feel a sense of lovely relaxation. Softly scented candles offer aromas that send soothing messages of calm to your achy muscles.

    In no time, I was encased in a cozy robe, sipping cucumber water, and sitting in the large, round waiting area. Almonds and cranberries? Don’t mind if I do (while taking a selfie)

    Day 29 Oasis II

    Soon, my masseuse, Christina, called for me. I entered the room and settled myself under the crisp, white towel. She began with warm compresses on my back as she worked on my legs and feet. Now, I have no idea what divine anointing flows through her hands, but they literally set me into a state of transcendence. No cares, no thoughts. My entire brain focused on the sensations. Scents of almond oils danced with eucalyptus as she worked the knots in my back and neck. Soft classical music was a nice change from the typical “babbling brook” soundtrack of most spas. All I could do was lay there and breathe, wishing for time to stand still.

    Time didn’t.

    Sadly.

    But you can be sure I’ll indulge in this decadent treatment again.

    And again.

    And again.

    Ohmmmmmmmm

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    Oasis Day Spa

    One Park Avenue

    New York, NY 10016

    Tel: 212-254-7722

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      Day 28: Robin Williams Tribute

      Day 28 Robin WilliamsThe passing of actor Robin Williams truly shook the world. We could tangibly feel the hole he left, his vibrant energy gone from us. He’ll be missed in ways we can’t yet fathom.

      I’d contemplated writing a poignant tribute, drawing on some irony related to “tears of a clown”, as many others have done. But instead of following the cliche of the crowd, I decided to have a quiet tribute. Something simple.

      In a misty rain, I sat beneath a large umbrella in the courtyard of the New York Palace Hotel. It was quiet, the rain driving most people indoors. A soft tapping on my umbrella whispered of a crying sky. And why shouldn’t it cry? The world was now lacking.

      I opened my old copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, a book I purchased soon after watching Robin Williams recite the verses from “Oh Me! Oh Life!” in the movie Dead Poet’s Society. I remember hearing those words for the first time, inspired to tears. I still read the poem in Williams’ voice. I suspect we all do.

      I read the poem again, sitting there in the rain, and I contemplated Whitman’s veiled challenge: “…and you may contribute a verse”.

      This is our privilege as living beings. Our reason for living, according to the poet: to leave our mark on this thing called “life”.

      Robin Williams contributed quite a verse. One that made us smile, laugh, ponder, and grow introspective. His is a boisterous verse, one that ended abruptly in a string of exclamation points. It is a verse that contains many fonts, some large and bold, others small and frightened. It is a verse that encompasses many voices and stories. It’s a verse that spouts puns and ironies. It’s a verse that makes us laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

      The powerful play will go on without Robin Williams, but his verse exists. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.

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      O Me! O Life!

      By Walt Whitman

      Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
      Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
      Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
      Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
      Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
      Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
      The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
      Answer:
      That you are here—that life exists and identity,
      That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
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        Days 25-27: Performance Art

        Day 25 Opera100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures, so I’m dedicating 100 days to experiencing something lovely and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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        Day 25: Purcell Opera

         I spent Saturday night immersed in the fanciful world of fairies and complex plot lines of “The Fairy Queen”, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in which my dear friend, opera singer Tamra Paselk, performed. We laughed, we swooned, and we offered thunderous applause for the fabulously decadent experience!

        Day 25 Opera 2Photo courtesy of The New York Times

        Day 26: Brunch at the Blue Note

        Grandpa would be proud! As a bass player, conductor, and music lover, he raised me to love and appreciate jazz. It’s in my blood! And in my heart. So when I discovered that legendary jazz club The Blue Note offered Sunday brunch and live jazz I was sooooooooo there!! Scoring front row seats, so near to the stage that hosted jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, it truly was surreal. There we sat, sipping mimosas and bopping in our seats as the Peter Beets Trio masterfully offered a musical tribute to jazz legend Oscar Peterson. For a jazz lover, this was a monumentally decadent experience!

        Day 26 Blue Note

        Day 27: Celebrating a New York Times Review!

        Remember that Purcell opera I just told you about? Well, my dear Tamra received a rave review in the New York Times for her operatic performance! So, how do two friends celebrate such an exciting career achievement in performance art? Fancy lounge? Expensive dinner? Luxurious cocktail party? Oh, no…we hit a dive bar! $3 Matadors (tequila and pineapple juice) which we drank liberally and toasted our up-and-coming careers.

        Day 27 tequila

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          Day 24: The Decadence of Rest and Relaxation

          Day 24 Friday Night at Home100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures, so I’m dedicating 100 days to experiencing something lovely and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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          Day 24: Rest and Relaxation at Home

          I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to list “wine, whipped cream, and TV” as something decadent but to be honest, to me, allowing myself a night of rest and relaxation IS decadent! So it became Day 24′s indulgence and it was fabulous!! Here’s why:

          Life is busy. Understatement. It’s a swirling, twirling hurricane of activities and to-do lists that constantly demand attention and deplete any speck of energy we might have. Even days off usually include something that must be accomplished or completed, leaving us drained and rather blurry-eyed.

          So several years ago, I decided to “protect” my Friday nights. I rarely make plans. Instead, I come home, walk the dog, wash my face (the ultimate Woman Code for “I’m finished today”), pour some wine, and choose a movie. Sometimes I feel guilty (I should be out!). Other times I feel elated (thank god I’m not out!). But every time I feel like I’m taking care of myself because I know I need a few hours of true down time. On tough weeks, I realllllllly look forward to Friday night. It’s like a mini-vacation!

          So darlings, never feel bad for taking a little time for yourself. It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to miss things. It’s ok to indulge in a little rest and relaxation. It’s needed, it’s lovely, and in the whirl of life’s chaos, it’s very, very decadent.

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            Day 23: Hermès Autumn/Winter 2014 Shoe Collection

            Day 23 Hermes100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures, so I’m dedicating 100 days to experiencing something lovely and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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            Day 23: Hermès Cocktail Party

            Needless to say, I was thrilled to be invited by Elle Decor to attend the Hermès Preview Party unveiling their Autumn/Winter 2014 shoe collection! Few things in life are more fabulous than sipping champagne and sighing over shoes. This is a fact. So, along with friend and fellow footwear lover Dr. Slade, I set out to find my dream shoe(s) for the upcoming season.

            Day 23 Hermes Shoe CollageFirst stop: the shoe cam! We happily modeled our footwear, mine are Steve Madden stilettos and Dr. Slade rocked a timeless Louboutin heel.  Once our own shoes got proper attention, it was time to dive into the decadent world of Hermès fashionable options for the feet. I really fell in love with so many of them I couldn’t choose a favorite!

            Day 23 Hermes Shoes Fall Collection

            hermes boots

            hermes shoesWant to melt over shoes a little more? Check out the Hermes website for assorted colors and styles or stop by the New York shoe boutique!

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            Hermès

            691 Madison Ave, 4th Floor

            New York, NY 10065

            Tel: 212-751-3181

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              Day 22: Decadence for a Book Lover

              Day 22 - rare books 2100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures. So, for the next 100 days, I’m dedicated to experiencing something lovely each day and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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              Day 22: Decadent Day for a Book Lover

              Not naming names, but someone asked me this question: “A bookstore? Is that really decadent?”  The look that crossed my face (and later escaped my lips): “um, did you really just ask me that insane question?” Because, really, there are few things more decadent to a book lover than being surrounded by first editions, rare publications, and signed copies by your favorite authors. It’s as close to standing in the same room with them as you can get! Quite magical.

              Day 22 - rare booksSo for this unique day of decadence, I visited Bauman Rare Books on Madison Avenue, which is truly a candy store for literary lovers like me. I gasped way too many times. I ooh’d and ahh’d over everything behind the glass case. I was starry-eyed when the manager actually removed some of my favorite editions from the case so I could see them up close. If someone had put a glass of aged bourbon in my hand, I may never have left!

              Day 22 - rare books2What got me so fluttery? This, for instance: a rebound edition of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s encrusted with diamonds in the cover’s crown and necklace. Ultra chic!

              Day 22 - rare books3Or this treasure: a first edition copy of Stuart Little, signed by author E.B. White and illustrator Garth Williams. Behind it? Oh, just a first edition of Fantasia signed by Walt Disney himself!

              Day 22 - rare books4How about a Bible dating back to 1727? Or a first edition, bound copy of Madame Bovery? Or perhaps a book specifically created for French royalty: “1772 Royal Almanac, bound for Louis XVI dauphin two years before he would inherit the throne of France, in a lovely binding designed by the royal bookbinder.”

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              hemingwayHemingway fan? You will melt over this signed photograph and a first edition Farewell to Arms.

              Day 22 - rare books 9 autographThis is where I had one of my larger “lose my composure” moments: as someone with a life-long obsession with Everest, it’s surreal to find a copy of The Ascent of Everest by Sir John Hunt that is signed (signed! signed! signed!!!) by Sir Edmund Hillary (among many others)! No amount of exclamation points can convey my excitement.

              Day 22 - rare books 10Walt Whitman once said, “simplicity is the glory of expression” and I believe he would approve of this elegant display of his highly-coveted autograph.

              Day 22 - rare books5My only regret: I forgot to ask about Fitzgerald!! Damn! I’m certain they’ve got Fitz in their collection, so I suppose that means I’ll get to pop by for another round! I’m already looking forward to it, too, since this exquisite shop is like heaven for literature lovers, history buffs, and collectors. It’s also a very welcoming space with charming staff, so anyone can indulge in this particular decadence.

              And yes, it does, most certainly, count as “decadent”, doesn’t it, my darling book lovers!

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              Bauman Rare Books

              535 Madison Avenue | New York City
              (Between 54th & 55th Streets)
              New York, NY 10022
              Open Mon to Sat 10am to 6pm
              Phone: (212) 751-0011

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                Decadence on the Seas: The Starfire SuperYacht

                7 Main Deck Aft (8)The word “superyacht” often conjures up images of wealth, beauty, decadence and elegance that moves with grace – the majestic Starfire superyacht is no exception. Designing the interior of a superyacht is something that needs to be done with care and precision. Small spaces out on the open water need to be light, airy and doused in comfort to make elite guests feel at home and to dabble in every luxury they need. The glorious superyacht Starfire was launched in 1998 but has been refitted and refurbed several times over to ensure it stays at the top of it’s class when it comes to cool, collected sophistication. The italian build of Benetti bound with the artistic inspiration of designer Francois Zurreti makes for a remarkable finish. The Art Deco style blends deep polished wood with white linens, clean lines and even a glimpse of gold. The result is awe inspiring and has just the right balance of nautical delights making the Starfire a place to inspire restful sleep, fine dining, sun worshipping and so much more.

                Exterior Profile (2)The Sun Deck

                Out on the open waters when the gleaming sun is rippling off the water this is the place you will spend many an afternoon. Sipping cocktails, relaxing in the hot tub, enjoying a massage or simply watching the white caps pass by, the sun deck is the heart of the superyacht. The Starfire yacht offers beautiful wicker, rustic inspired wood,white canopies and navy blue cushions that offset the nautical air with comfort and charm. The bubbling hot tub always looks welcoming, the creamy canopies deliver the perfect slice of shade and curling up on the plump cushions offers spectacular ocean views to die for.

                3 Sun Deck Aft (1)The Upper Deck

                Simplicity is the key when it comes to the upper deck that marks the Starfire. Curved art decor seating surrounds the breakfast table and geometric aztec inspired patterns and wood provide a cool floor beneath your feet. This is the place to linger over flaky morning pastries and fresh squeezed mimosas as you watch the islands fade away.

                5 Upper Deck Frw

                6 Upper Deck AftThe Main Deck

                Step back in time to sheer 1920′s Gatsby delight in the main deck. The golden lights flicker off the polished wood and the centre piece dining table with blue and white striped chairs brings together the feel of old school seaside charm with daring new world beauty. Marble and wood floors and a curved rich bar make this room the very epicenter of socializing and soirees with only the finest company.

                The Bedrooms
                Slipping into a dreamy sleep has never been easier then when resting on the sublime Starfire. The bedrooms bring zen like calm and lavish luxury into harmony. Crisp white linens, plush creamy couches, curved wooden furnishings and soft spotlighting make your quarters on deck fit for a king. Modern Art Deco pieces adorn the walls and the bathrooms are godly with fluffy towels, mirrors and marble surfaces at every turn.
                12 Sundeck Massage and Sauna (4)
                16 Main Deck Master (20)
                16 Main Deck Master Bath (21)
                16 Main Deck Master Study (23)
                17 Main Deck Lobby and Head (4)
                18 Main Deck Dining (23)
                19 Main Deck Saloon (7)
                21 Lower Deck Guest Frw Twins (2)
                22 Lower Deck Guest Aft Queens
                Yes, darlings, I think I could happily spend a day (or a a lifetime!) on this decadent superyacht. Captain, could you steer us to St. Barth’s next? I have a brunch date with Leonardo. Thanks.
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                  Days 16-21: Delicious Indulgence and Restaurant Week

                  Day 16 - Chez Josephine II100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures. So, for the next 100 days, I’m dedicated to experiencing something lovely each day and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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                  Day 16: Restaurant Week at Chez Josephine

                  We LIVE for Restaurant Week in NYC, so when it rolled around again I knew exactly where I wanted to go: Chez Josephine. The kitschy restaurant is near Times Square and quite thematic, paying homage to entertainer Josephine Baker, but let me tell you, the food was outstanding – heirloom tomatoes, skirt steak, perfect potatoes, and even a fluffy vanilla panna cotta drizzled with apricot glaze. Service was amazing. Wine was delicious. Ah yes, we did restaurant week right!

                  Day 16 - Chez Josephine

                  Day 17: New York Aquarium

                  Once I heard the New York Aquarium, the oldest operating aquarium in the country, was FREE on Fridays between 4pm-6pm, I decided to enjoy a “frugal friday” and pop down to feed the fishes. It was lovely to see the fun happening under the sea, but sadly, the facility is still undergoing renovations so it’s not quite “decadent” just yet. Give it a few more months, though, and it will be perfection! Meanwhile, beauty is everywhere and I certainly found it today!

                  Day 17 - NY Aquarium

                  Day 18:  Sleeping in and Mimosas!

                  It’s Saturday and my doggie and I are pooped! Sometimes, it really does feel decadent to allow yourself to rest. So that’s exactly what we did. We slept in, we had brunch, and I enjoyed some fabulous mimosas.

                  Day 18 - sleeping in and mimosas

                  Day 19:  A Day in Darien, CT

                  I love when work and play coexist! Today, I had to (got to!) take the train up to charming Darien, CT to meet with clients for a consultation…and for brunch! There is nothing on earth quite so mouth watering as a lobster roll devoured while gazing at sailboats and chatting about paint colors. Basically, an interior designer’s idea of heaven!

                  Day 19 - Derien CT Day 20: Soho House NY

                  One of my favorite spots in New York is Soho House, a private members-only club that practically defines “decadence”. Every inch of the space, from the elegant lobby to the famous rooftop, is the height of luxury. Sip fine wine on the 6th Floor, perching on red leather bar stools or sinking into velvety sofas. Catch a movie in the ultra-posh 5th Floor theater. Or have a Sex and the City moment while lounging poolside on the roof. Sadly, photos aren’t allowed at Soho House, so little evidence exists of my incredible evening…but I did manage a few incognito shots!

                  Day 20 - SoHo House NY

                  Day 21: Goodbye, Ice Cream

                  It’s no secret that I’m a CRAZY ice cream fanatic. But after the indulgence leaves my tongue and hits my tummy, my body is not so happy about that sugar. So I’m going back to my feel-good eating habits of low-carb and no-sugar (with the exception of wine, because I’m civilized!). So to bid a proper adieu to my favorite guilty pleasure, I indulged in my absolute FAVORITE sweet treat: Haagen Das Vanilla Swiss Almond.

                  Day 21 - haagen das

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                    Day 15: Luscious Laduree

                    Day 15 - Laduree100 Days of Decadence: Life zips by so insanely fast and sometimes we forget to savor the simple (and not so simple!) pleasures. So, for the next 100 days, I’m dedicated to experiencing something lovely each day and encouraging you, darlings, to do the same. Mostly things to do in New York: big things, small things, simple things, luxurious things…all the joyous things we can find! Life is short. Enjoy the moments!

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                    Day 15:  Snacking al fresco at Ladurée SoHo

                    I asked for the most decadent summer dessert available. “Something beautiful,” I told the waiter, who was eager to make my experience just right. “I have just the thing,” he responded. “Do you like raspberries?”

                    Very soon, this little slice of heaven was presented to me on a silver platter. It’s called the Ispahan: rose flavored macarons containing a rose pedal cream, raspberries, and lychee slices. This, my darlings, is what decadence tastes like. Raspberry roses. Le sigh.

                    Day 15 - Laduree 1I slowly nibbled this piece of perfection in Ladurée SoHo‘s garden terrace, taking advantage of the gorgeous July afternoon. Coffee and cream in little silver pitchers accompanied my snack. I would divulge details, but really, all I could do was take a bite. Sigh. And sip. My mind shut off. My senses were fully engaged. All I could comprehend was the power of this little dessert.

                    When I’d finally finished (sad moment) I sauntered inside to take a few photos. Unfortunately, a photoshoot was already in progress, so I snuck a few shots as incognito as possible. Not my best photographic work, but you still get the idea of how decadent this restaurant truly is.

                    Day 15 - Laduree 2

                    Day 15 - Laduree 3

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                    Day 15 - Laduree 6With four distinct dining areas, including the lovely outdoor space, Laduree SoHo is the perfect place for a first date, business lunch, brunch with with the girls, or any other experience you could imagine. I suspect you’ll find me here quite often. And if not here, I’ll be at the gym, burning it all off.

                    Worth it!

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                    Ladurée SoHo

                    398 W. Broadway

                    New York, NY 10012

                    Tel: (646) 392-7868

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