Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Taking Iodine Safe?

March 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Health, Latest

Iodine has been a hot topic over the last few weeks as radiation becomes a top concern for many around the world. Just today news broke that traces of radioactive iodine were detected in milk right here in the US. While these traces are considered minuscule and experts say not a real concern, this again raises the question of if (and how) we should be protecting ourselves from radioactive iodine. Weeks ago we saw California residents buying out iodine tablets, leaving store shelves empty. But are iodine tablets really the best way to go? Are they completely safe? We checked in with Dr. Susan Blum of Blum Center for Health, to get the lowdown on iodine.

Should we be taking iodine?
Susan Blum, MD, MPH

I would like to talk about iodine. One of the radioactive particles that can be released from nuclear power plants is a radioactive form of iodine that if taken into our body, can go to the thyroid gland and cause thyroid injury and, in some people, cancer at a later date. If you take high doses of iodine, you can saturate your thyroid with iodine and then it won’t take up the radioactive form of iodine if you are exposed. The bad iodine will compete with the good, and it’s possible that this will prevent damage.

In general, iodine is pretty safe because most people are low to begin with, so for some, there is probably no harm in taking the tablets. However, iodine is not good at high doses if you already are hyper- or hypothyroid, especially if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune type of hypothyroidism. In these cases, and also in some normal thyroid people, the high dose iodine can actually cause your thyroid to become worse. I have seen this happen. For this reason, I think it is important to have the decision be individualized based on your personal health history.

Right now it seems very unlikely that any significant radiation will make its way from Japan to the East Coast. This is the rational answer. While we watch and wait, we should consider other more simple alternatives to iodine tablets.


One great solution is to increase your iodine intake from food. Iodine can be found in many sea vegetables.

Sea Vegetables High in Iodine:

· Dulse
· Kelp
· Nori
· Haziki
· Kombu

So, how do you prepare these vegetables?
Here’s a simple recipe for dulse from Chef Marti Wolfson.

Dulse and Sesame Seeds
1 cup dulse
1 cup sesame seeds

Toast the dulse until it turns purplish and crispy and let cool. With a mortar and pestal or in a food processor, combine sesame seeds and dulse until coarse mixture. Sprinkle as a condiment in soups, salads, sandwiches and cooked vegetables.

As always, our team at Blum Center for Health is ready to answer your questions. If you would like to personally discuss your concerns, we would suggest a 30 minute brief consult with Elizabeth Greig, our Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner, who, among other things, is very knowledgeable about thyroid function and iodine.

Dr. Susan Blum is the founder of the Blum Center Health, a new kind of health center, where all the tools you need to live a vibrant, happy and healthy life are under one roof. She completed her Internal Medicine training at St-Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, her residency in Preventive Medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine. She received her Masters in Public Health at Columbia University, and her training in Functional Medicine from The Institute for Functional Medicine, in Gig Harbor, Washington.

The Language (And Power) of Love

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Relationships

Love is the base for everything in life, it is the energy underneath it all. Without love we would not exist and without love there would not be much reason for living.
Have you discovered your own and your partners love language yet? One way to get more connected into your partner’s and your own hopes and needs concerning love and relationships, is to figure out your Love Languages. We all have one or two ‘languages’ that are most essential for us to communicate and channel love and also feel and understand that we are loved in return. You can do a test online here and find out your primary love language.
One of the most essential aspects of love is the way we love and treat ourselves. This relationship is the base for everything we face in life. If you don’t love, accept and respect yourself, no amount of love from people around you will ever be enough. It’s also good to keep in mind, that the more we fill our own hearts with love, the more capacity we have to give to others as well. One good way to start practicing self acceptance is to train your brain a new positive way of relating to yourself. You can begin this by having a short moment to breathe deeply with your eyes closed and then write down all the things you find hard to accept in yourself. After this write new encouraging affirmations to start changing your brain and old beliefs bit by bit. Remember that the repetition is the key here, just as it is when training our muscles at the gym. You might also think that this is useless – but trust me – you sticking in a negative thought pattern is only making your life unnecessary hard. One of the most important questions we can also ask ourselves each morning is: How can I love myself a little more today?
You can find out more tips and support at my new webpage!
Remember Rumi’s fine advice: You were born with wings, why crawl through life. So encourage and love yourself, spread your wings and fly! Love, Light and Happiness!

Is Newly Engaged Vanessa Minnillo Looking To Get Pregnant?

March 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Health, Latest, Motherhood

We all heard the buzz a few months back when Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey announced their engagement (finally!). So does newly engaged Vanessa already have babies on the brain? She’s been hitting the media circuit talking about the importance of Folate and Folic Acid, something doctors have always recommended for women who are pregnant or looking to get pregnant. Our Lathem Thomas got the scoop at a recent press luncheon here in NYC. She got Vanessa talking about everything from pre-natal vitamins to her hot Louboutin pumps!

TV personality Vanessa Minnillo unveiled her national education campaign, Girlfriends for Folate, to inform women of childbearing age of the importance of daily folate intake. Her partnership with Bayer and March of Dimes to launch the Girlfriends for Folate or GFF campaign cleverly engages Generation Y women using social media as it’s target platform including Facebook and twitter to help spread the good news about folate for women.

In her NYC press conference Vanessa, who wants to one day become pregnant said, “I’m taking action now by making sure I get the recommended amount of folate in my diet”.  I sat down with Vanessa and we talked nail polish, shoes, and prenatal vitamins. She was wearing a fierce Catherine Malandrino number with classic nude Christian Louboutin pumps. She told me that as a recent member of Twitter she answers all of the tweets from her fans and women curious about the wonders of folate.

Folate is a water-soluable B vitamin that naturally occurs in leafy green vegetables, beans, legumes, and enriched grains. It helps to regenerate cells and is important to take before pregnancy and during the early months of pregnancy for neurological development. March of Dimes recommends that all reproductive age women supplement their diet with at least 400mcg of folic acid daily. You can get adequate amounts of folate from the dark leafy greens like kale, chard, collards etc but for those of us who are skipping the salad bar it is especially important to get the folate synthetically as Folic Acid.

Girlfriends for Folate launched March 15th with a national competition to identify the U.S. region with the most “GFFs.” Women can join the GFF movement by registering at The region with the most GFFs will be recognized nationally during its local March of Dimes March for Babies®, where Vanessa will join other women committed to spreading the word about the importance of daily folate intake. Way to go Girlfriend!

Follow Vanessa on Twitter and become her GFF or head to Girlfriends for Folate for more info!

The Power Of Argan Oil (plus our product picks & GIVEAWAY!)

March 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Beauty, Featured, Latest

For the last year or so I have seen more and more beauty products coming on the market boasting Argan Oil as one of the main ingredients. Argan oil has been touted by the New York Times as “the latest miracle ingredient,” and even referred to by some as “liquid gold.” It is being incorporated into everything from face wash to hair serums.

So, what’s the deal with Argan oil? Well, it is an oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, endemic to Morocco, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. It has high concentrations of nutrients and potent antioxidants, and boasts such benefits as neutralizing free radicals, reducing inflammation, and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It even protects the skin from harsh environmental factors. Wow! Now that’s power.

With so many products now hitting the market I decided to test out and see just how powerful the oil from this little nut may be. BTW– Berber women of Morocco have been using Argan Oil in their beauty regime for ages.

Kahina Giving Beauty:

I LOVE Kahina because all Kahina products are made with high concentrations of PURE organic argan oil that is personally sourced by the Kahina founder and combined with other complimentary natural and organic ingredients. Also, Kahina gives back! They source rare essential materials from around the world and donate 25% of their profits to women from these regions. I love their philosophy which based on the simple notion of women helping women through shared beauty rituals.

Our Kahina Product Picks:
My two favorites in the line are the 100% Organic Kahina Argan Oil which can be used everywhere from your face to your heels. It is undiluted and the real deal! I used it morning and night and it was super moisturizing yet is non-greasy. It just feels pure!

Also, I fell in love with the Kahina Facial Lotion. It left my skin with this unbelievable glow. I have never had such an immediate effect quite like it (and I have sampled a LOT of products). I also love that it is light-weight and naturally scented. Pure goodness.

I became a fan of the whole Kahina line, but I will warn you, it is a bit pricey. A good option is to try out the Travel Kit which gives you a smaller size of the cleanser, lotion, and oil.  It can be ordered online or picked up at Bergdorf Goodman.


Another line that I recently tried out is ArganMagic. It boasts a variety of products from skin salves and body scrubs to oils and hair creams, all of which contain 100% pure, cold pressed Argan Oil. The beauty of the Aragan Magic line also lies in it’s price point. It is one of the more affordable Argan Oil product lines out there, and it’s haircare line can conveniently be found at many CVS drugstores.

Our ArganMagic Picks:

Hydrating Dry Oil Spray: When it comes to beauty or any other regime, quick and easy is right up my alley! That’s why I love ArganMagic Dry Oil Spay. It’s is moisturizing, lightweight, and SO easy to apply. Just a few spays and a it’s fine mist can reach any body part (even your back!).  I recently took a trip to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, and this dry spray was my go-to product. Arizona is known for arid climate and scorching sun, but a few pumps of  this Dry Oil Spray had my skin instant moisturized and glowing.  Bonus: it smells great!

ArganMagic Intensive Hail Oil: I am all about hair oils and serums. Anything to smooth down my unruly locks is good in my book. Favorites of past include Redken Smooth Down and BioSilk Serum, and now I will add ArganMagic Intensive Hair Oil to the list. It smoothed down and silk-tified (totally made that word up) my hair, and didn’t leave that greasy residue that many oils do. It also boasts that it helps restore hair from both chemical and environmental damage, and claims it can reduce blow drying and styling time by up to 50%. I’ll take it!

See More Tips For Shiny Locks Here!

HSNY GIVEAWAY:  Our ArganMagic Picks!

We love ArganMagic even more because they have offered 2 lucky winners our favorite ArganMagic products!  Winners will receive an ArganMagic Hair Mask, ArganMagic Intensive Hair Oil, and ArganMagic Hydrating Dry Oil Spray!

To enter out little giveaway, all that you have to do is make sure you have signed up & are a regular subscriber to our newsletter (you can sign up for free on the top right hand side of our page)! In one week we’ll pick a subscriber’s name at random, notify you, and send you your ArganMagic Products!

ArganMagic Haircare is available at CVS and both body products and haircare is available at BONUS: HSNY readers now receive 20% off their online purchase using CODE : HEALTHYSTYLE  (Exp: 5/1/11)

See More Tips For Shiny Locks Here!

WTF: What The Fructose Is Going On?

March 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Nutrition

Have you ever seen this commercial about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? If not watch it at the end of this article, and then watch the video below it (a spoof of it). I promise you will laugh out loud.

Truth is, HFCS is so bad for you, especially in the quantities that we are eating them in. HFCS is, definitely not like sugar, and is completely artificial.

HFCS is made by taking corn starch, adding an enzyme that never existed in the corn starch in the first place, boiling it, and voila, extremely sweet man made artificial sweetener. Corn is subsidized in the US therefore making HFCS cheap and accessible.

You will read in other articles that HFCS is okay in moderation, and it might be, BUT the reality is that we are having large quantities of it daily without even knowing it.

Soda is the biggest HFCS enabler… did you know the typical American drinks over 60 gallons of soda every year?

Have you ever felt like you can’t stop eating and you’re not sure why?

HFCS, simply put, is a chemical that the body has no idea how to deal with it. So, it wreaks havoc in our system. It throws off an important hormone in our system called leptin, which tells your body when to stop eating. This hormone helps regulate appetite and fat storage, and therefore is linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

So, in order to start dropping lbs check the ingredients of everything you own and throw out the stuff that has HFCS in it. Check the following food list as a starter:

• Bread
o HFCS: Wonderbread, Pepperidge Farm’s line of 100 percent whole grain breads, Weight Watcher’s bread, and Sara Lee Heart Healthy Whole Grain Breads.
o Non-HFCS: Check ingredients, Arnold’s Natural Fiber and Flax bread

• Pancake Syrup
o HFCS: Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima
o Non HFCS: Vermont Natural Maple Syrup

• Ketchup
o HFCS: Heinz
o Non-HFCS: Muir Glen

• Cereal
o HFCS: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch, Special K, and Smart Start Healthy Heart.
o Non-HFCS: Kashi, Nature’s Path, and Erewhon

• Yogurt
o HFCS: Fruit or sweetened Yoplait & Dannon
o Non-HFCS: Plain yogurts, Fage Greek Yogurt

• Nutrition Bars
o HFCS: Power Bars, Balance Bars and Zone Perfect Bars
o Non-HFCS: Larabars, Kind Bars

Leave your comments below on how many foods you found HFCS in and the foods that seem to be the most surprising to you. Also share this important information with your family and friends.

Now watch the spoof!

HSNY Giveaway: Natural Collagen Inventia® Age-Defying Skin Care

March 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Giveaways

Spring is coming and is your skin in need of that youthful glow? This week’s giveaway will wash away the dull of winter and spring your skin back to life! Introducing  Natural Collagen Inventia® Age-Defying Skin Care!

As the name suggests, collagen is key in this skin care line. Sure, we’ve been hearing about collagen for years, and there’s a very good reason why while skin care trends have come and gone, collagen has been a mainstay. Collagen is the main protein of connective tissue in the body, and takes part in the vital functions of nearly all systems, organs and tissues. 70% of our skin’s smoothness can be attributed to collagen, making it one of the most important elements addressed in skin care. As the skin ages, it loses the plump, youthful look collagen affords it.

Natural Collagen Inventia is a revolutionary new topical skin-rejuvenating skin care line now available in the US, Canada and South America. Natural Collagen Inventia is derived from rigorously inspected and select skins of fresh water planktonophagous fish. It is a highly guarded proprietary process, which creates “live” collagen that is sensitive to temperature and is compatible to the human DNA.  This allows for better absorption and can also help reduce wrinkles and promote very smooth, soft skin for women and men.

This week we’re GIVING AWAY TWO Natural Collagen Inventia® Age-Defying Skin Care Products

This giveaway is now over. Congrats Vera E!

What You’ll Win:

Inventia FACE

  • Inventia FACE is recommended for the intensive care of every skin type, especially dry and sensitive skin. Inventia FACE increases skin tautness and minimizes visible expression lines. It increases the skin’s ability to bind with water and creates a protective film on the skin, which prevents it from losing moisture. Inventia FACE gently exfoliates the skin and speeds regeneration, lightens dark spots and evens overall skin tone. Price:  $63.33, 15 ml

Natural Collagen Inventia Night Cream

  • An intensively regenerating and nourishing night cream. Suitable for all skin types, especially dry, stressed skin deprived of suppleness and freshness. The unique composition of the cream ensures proper nourishment and moisturization of the skin. It moisturizes, tones and firms the skin. Contains Collagen and Matrixyl, which effectively prevent premature aging of the skin, reduces deep wrinkles and eliminates minor ones. Lemon balm extract contained in the cream tones the skin and regulates secretion of sebum. Additionally, lemon balm and D-panthenol sooth irritation and reduce the tendency to irritations. The skin gains velvet smoothness, softness, as well as a healthy and fresh look. Price: $93.33, 50 ml

City Escape: Canyon Ranch Tucson

March 11, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Spring is right around the corner and a perfect time for renewal and awakening. We often too need to bring change and balance into our lives, and that’s not always such an easy task in a crazy city like NY.  This week’s City Escape takes us west to one of nation’s top destination spa resorts, Canyon Ranch.

Located in the Sonoron Desert and surrounded by the Santa Catalina Mountains, Canyon Ranch is the perfect place to reset, relax, and revitalize. For decades this all inclusive resort has taken a holistic approach to good health, providing guests with all the tools they need bring their lives back into balance. For those seeking big change, Canyon Ranch has a variety of powerful programs– everything from weight loss to spiritual awakening. However, if a relaxing and fun vacation is more of what you have in mind, Canyon also has you covered. The expansive resort features indoor and outdoor pools, hiking and biking trails, golf programs, and an award winning spa.

For me, I wanted it all. I really needed to step out of the hectic NYC pace and just relax, but also sought to continue my fitness routine (summer is coming!) and looked forward to participating in some of Canyon’s workshops. I took along a good girlfriend, and, in the end, feel like we both left Canyon Ranch with exactly what we needed.

A typical day for me started with a morning hike on the 2 mile trail that surrounds the ranch’s property. This was a time to take in the beauty and mystery of the desert, enjoy the cool morning air and warm sunshine, get the blood pumping, and set good intentions for the day (not hard to do in such a great place!)

Breakfast, as with all meals at Canyon, gave us a great variety of healthy options. By week’s end favorites included the blueberry wheat pancakes and fresh fruit and yogurt bar. Even my morning cup of Joe tasted better in the desert! Canyon does a great job with all of its meals– but be careful, while very nutritious (they even list items nutritional info on the menus), if you go overboard you can easily gain weight indulging in the good stuff.

Our days at Canyon brought a variety of fun, relaxing and worthwhile activities. At least once a day we participated in a workshop. My favorite was the very first talk that we attended which was entitled Celebrating WomenLisa Redstone, a Shaman (all of Canyon’s teachers are top-notch), talked about the importance of celebrating women at every stage of life, and how, in our society, we often overlook this. As with so many of the workshops, I found that this one shifted my perspective a bit and had me ref0cusing on the important stuff that we so often lose sight of in the shuffle of life. I highly recommend that you don’t pass up the opportunity to take a workshop or two while visiting. Definitely worth the while.

We also got a good dose of exercise on this trip. In addition to our daily hikes, we took advantage of the many fitness classes that Canyon Ranch offers. We took fun classes like belly-dancing, got our down-ward dog on, watched others do pool aerobics ;), and often wrapped up our day with a relaxing meditation or ‘stretch and relax’ class. A great vacation for me is one where I actually leave feeling revitalized and good about my body and health, so being able to keep active was great.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am all about lounging on a chair poolside, getting lost in in a good book, and completely relaxing as well. Canyon makes this easy. At some point during each day, Elisa and I found ourselves at one of the three outdoor pools, enjoying the warm sun and amazing views. Throughout the property, Canyon offers relaxing refuges, from quiet gazebos to benches overlooking still ponds. Oh– and Canyon Ranch is a cell-free zone. That means no chit- chatting on the cell except in designated areas. Get ready to disconnect and see how wonderful it is!

Finally, a resort-spa vacation would not be complete without a trip to the SPA! I made sure to get a good dose of spa time (c’mon I had to for research purposes right?). While I am a sucker for a straightforward massage (loved my first Canyon Ranch signature massage), they also offer a wide variety of specialty massages– everything from a thai to pre-natal–  as well as a huge variety of other spa services. For those looking for something not so “hands on,” the spa also has quiet sitting areas, whirlpools, steam room, and sauna guaranteed to bring relaxation.

Canyon Ranch does a great job of having guests experience for themselves just how good healthy living can feel. They bring together all the elements of a healthy lifestyle to fortify mind, body and spirit. So are you ready for rest and revitalization? If so, Canyon Ranch is the perfect place to visit, and now may very well be the perfect time. The weather in Tucson is beautiful this time of year, and Canyon is even offering several seasonal specials.  For more information on all of Canyon Ranch’s programs and offerings visit

Can’t get away to Canyon Ranch? Bring the desert oasis right to your fingertips! Find out more HERE.

Resistance Bands: Why Resist?

March 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Fitness, Latest

One of my favorite ways to ensure that you can strength train in addition to performing cardio while you are away is to utilize calisthenics as well as resistance bands. These are great tools which are often overlooked when at the gym. Bands are inexpensive, light and easy to carry in luggage (for those travel workouts). What’s more is, the change in your routine will often yield visible results!  What’s better than that?  Getting more fit while on the road?  Or maybe entering the New Year healthier than the last!

Check out this sample routine – sure to challenge you and give you a total body workout.

WARM UP AND STRETCH - 10 minute warm up jog

Please perform each of the following exercises for 3 sets of 12 reps in circuit form.  There are 3 circuits here- go through the first- performing each exercise for 12 reps then repeat the entire group of exercises 3x.  You will then move on to second circuit, perform 3x and move on from there.  I have provided links to video demonstrations for each exercise listed in case you do not know how to execute the move.

Circuit #1:
Walking Side Squat with Resistance Band

Bicep Curl with a Resistance Band
Tricep Overhead Extension with Resistance Band
Shoulder Overhead Press with Resistance Band

Circuit #2: Walking Side Squat with Resistance Band
Squat with Resistance Band
Front Raise with a Resistance Band

Lat Pull Down with Resistance Bands

Circuit #3 Walking Side Squat with Resistance
Reverse Lunge with Resistance Band
Hammer Curl with a Resistance Band

Reverse Flye with a Resistance Band
Upright Row with Resistance Bands


“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Foster C. Mcclellan

Dreaming Of Sunshine… And Shortbread!

March 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Recipes

Yesterday’s dreadful rain has me fantasizing about springtime and sunshine so bright that it enlivens you to the core.  Even when it’s gray and dreary, these little rosemary-lemon shortbread I baked up over the weekend do just that.  The mix of herbal and citrus notes, and of course a nice dose of buttery sweetness, take you on a tasteful journey from the final days of winter to the first exciting days of spring.  This quote and inspiration from the new menu at the very cool (and delicious) pop-up restaurant, What Happens When in NYC’s Nolita neighborhood, perfectly expresses the seasonal transition I’m longing for:

“Every winter when the spring days peaked through…I always longed for these foods, and hunted them down annually.”

- We fell in love with this image and pushed the fantasy of hunting through winter while bits of spring peek through to new heights.

And without further adieu, here’s the recipe.  Warning, they’re dangerously addictive. Bon appetit!

Rosemary-Lemon Shortbread
Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature *I use a European-style butter which has a slightly higher fat content, Plugra is a common brand

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced

juice of 1 lemon

zest of 1/2  to 1 lemon *depending on  taste

clear sanding sugar

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar and vanilla to butter and cream together.  Mix in rosemary, lemon juice and zest.  Stir in flour mixture slowly until just blended.  Form dough into a ball and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log, about 6 inches long or so – make sure log is squared at edges rather than rounded. Wrap logs in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat to 325°F and place oven racks on 3rd and bottom rung.  Place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sanding sugar on a piece of parchment paper and roll each log so that each side is well-coated.  Cut each log into slices, about 1/3 inch thick.  Place slices on 2 cookie sheets, about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes and reverse baking sheets in oven. Reverse baking sheets and bake 9 to 10 minutes more until golden brown.  Transfer cookies to a rack and allow to cool.

Dating, Living, Eating: Money Savings Tips In NYC

If you’re part of a couple in New York, you know it isn’t easy to live lavishly, especially if you’re not bringing in the big bucks!  It came up a few weeks ago for my boyfriend, Dave, and me when we starting scouting out new apartments.  We searched craigslist for hours on end only to be disappointed by either size, price or location!  GEEZ!  So, I decided to do some research on my own.  My mission:  find a way to live like a millionaire on a budget.  Mission accomplished?  You’ll have to be the judge. But I definitely dug up some great resources for couples in the city!

1) Date Night
I love getting out of the apartment, especially when cabin fever sets in!  So, I started digging for fun ideas.  I found out NY Magazine’s best restaurant list isn’t the only thing to explore. Dave and I are pretty adventurous so we usually want something more than just a dinner. And why not? It’s New York!

If you’re looking to get out on a Friday or Saturday Night — start the evening off with taking in a little culture.  The Whitney, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Guggenheim, just to name a few, all offer free or ‘pay what you wish’ admission between 5 and 8pm .  It’s amazeballs!  If you go to the MoMa, you can grab a cheap and yummy bite at the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien.

Not Artsy?  That’s ok.  For $10 you can cha-cha the night away at Tango Porteno at South Street Seaport AND get a free lesson! If you live in Brooklyn, you can burn some calories bowling at The Gutter ( — just $6 a game.  Then grab a pie for two at Fornino. These are just a few date options I know we enjoy — but if you want to check out other incredible and affordable ideas check out Time Out NY’s: 75 great cheap dates.

2) Mi Casa es Su Casa?
Whether you’re looking to rent or buy — it’s going to become the fight of your life to find the perfect spot. Am I being dramatic? Perfection may be hard to find in NY but I found a site that may help you get pretty darn close. I can’t take the credit for this though. We were going door to door in the West Village, checking out buildings when we experienced the unexpected kindness of a stranger who must have noted what we up to. And he was privy to a hidden gem. We could do it all from home. StreetEasy gives you the tools you need to tour every New York neighborhood and building from your computer THEN it breaks it all down by location, price, rent history and more. It’s all free, but for $10 dollars a month you can become an “Insider,”which  allows more access to the site — and for couples looking to buy, it actually lists comparable properties to the ones of which you are interested.  You can use StreetEasy to scout out spots in NYC, Northern NJ and the Hamptons.We used it to find our fab new place!

3) Get Your Inner Chef On!
I’m not a professional chef but I can say I learned from the best. My mom is straight off the boat Italian and if she opened a restaurant it would put Giada’s creations to shame. Dave also happens to be slick in the kitchen so on weeknights, we swap cooking days. What if you can’t cook you ask? Well, I challenge you to try. Each week during every season, the city has amazing farmers markets where you can purchase fresh, in-season fruits and veggies for half the price of the corner supermarket goodies… and 1/100th the price of Whole Foods! Luckily, the farmer’s market is on my block. I buy our weekly supply of fruits, vegetables, eggs, bread and sometimes, grass-fed beef all for $50.

Photo: Flickr



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