take a trendy midtown hotel and add some fake snow,bear skin rugs, fun cocktails, and what do you get?

the best new lounge/bar in which to while away your Wintry nights in NYC.


enter the Hudson Lodge in the fabulous Hudson Hotel, located near Columbus Circle on West 58th St. if you’re not looking for it, the Hudson is easy to miss, as there’s no flaunting signage or grand entrance — you have to spot the glowing yellowish lights on a grayish building, and an immediate escalator sweeps you up into the main lobby and into all the fun.

the Lodge definitely met my expectations — which were high, as the promise of a ski bum-esque bar in fave venue not far from my apartment greatly entices — and it opened at the perfect time of year, just as we’re heading into Winter. i went with the singular goal of plopping myself down on that big square bed/backless couch thing draped with animal pelts, and after about an hour of standing around (yes, the only problem was the lack of sitting room available, as all tables have to be reserved prior), our group managed to snag some real estate front-and-center.
ski bunniesAlex, Jessie and me, chilling on the communal couch-bed and singing along to the fab DJs and karaoke. and those fun cocktails we’re sporting? they were called Snow Cones, and they were delicious. if you go, you want to get one. trust me on this.

we were really impressed with the quirky and fun DJs as well; so much so that Alex and i are still talking about DangerKat. any description i attempt to attribute to this girl would absolutely not do her justice, so please, just check her out. she was spunky, dancey, personable, creative, and incredibly unique — we were super jealous of how she could sport a paint-splattered chambray shirt down to her knees and a scarf that looked like a couch throw, and yet be the most beautiful person in the room. the girl oozed personality and presence, and we both kinda want to be her when we grow up. she and her hubby make up the DJ group DangerJelly…and we intend to strategically plan our next HL night around their DJing schedule.


Hudson Lodge was a win on all levels! definitely recommend checking it out for some ski bunny-style fun. it’s the quintessential NYC style apres-ski bar — without the skiing, but with all the Winter fun.


don’t you just love it when a band gets it absolutely, positively, 100% right? like, with every single song they sing, you just want to jump around and forget that there was ever anything in the world that wasn’t wonderful?

it makes me super excited. i mean, stumbling upon a band with that little extra pizazz, that indelible spark of magic that’s so utterly contagious that you couldn’t will your feet to stop moving if you stepped into wet cement…that’s, like, as exciting as calorie-free mint chocolate chip soft-serve  ice cream stands on every corner. (someone invent that, please? i’ll give you a shout-out on my blog! i know that’s big incentive right there.)

Two Door Cinema Club from Ireland is definitely one of those bands who have perfected the arts of engaging a crowd; writing ridiculously catchy, dancey tunes; and reminding you why music is so worth falling in love with in the first place.  i don’t think my feet, shoulders or head stopped bopping and swaying the entire time. seriously — every single song was amazing, and they had the crowd sooooo energized and pumped up, it was just phenomenal.

deep in consideration over whether or not it'd be a good idea to jump the balcony and rush the stage...

they packed Terminal 5 with a sold-out show, and made sure to let us know that their New York shows are always the highlights of their tour for them (umm hello, ooobvi). i can’t imagine a more enthusiastic, upbeat crowd, so i can see why they love us. bring us a good dance party, and we’ll love you forever, Two Door. simple as that.

they were peppy. they were totally on. they spoke with Irish accents and the lead singer flipped his hair while delivering a ridiculously solid vocal performance on each and every song. they were the very essence of fun, and nobody wanted the show to end. i haven’t had that much fun dancing since the first time i threw an elbow in someone’s face trying to learn to salsa. ooooh yeah, rock n’ roll baby, rock n’ roll.
you have to check them out. if you’re not hooked after the first listen, there might be something wrong with you. like, your fun gene might be down for the count or your taste in music might need a serious tweakage. (please note: if you like Nickelback and other such bands whose lead singers need a new voice, a new lyricist and a push off a ledge, i’m talking to you.) everyone else, you have no excuse. you need to listen & like, stat. you’re welcome.
and just in case their stellar show wasn’t enough in and of itself, one of the best songs ever came on over the speakers right when the band finished, and the dance party just exploded. it was pure genius perfection to end with that song and turn all of us (who were already on a high from the show) into giddy freelance swing dancers (oh you know i was one of them!):
my friend (who was actually a great dance partner!) and i watched the enthused scene below us for a second before we started dancing, and he goes, “everyone has seen this movie! this is awesome!”
and it was. it was just a ridiculously amazing concert all around.
and when a night concludes with such shenanigans as me posing with a plastic saber tooth necklace, you knowwww it was a crazy success.

and you’ll get nowhere…”

is that even true? i mean, if you compare where you currently are to where you’d like your life to be, shouldn’t it spur you into action and make you want to work harder to achieve those dreams? the last time i started comparing where i was (Albany) to where i wanted to be (NYC), i got serious enough about it to move.

hmm yeah, soooo i’m not sure i’ve entirely formed my own opinion on that lyric, but…
she sure put on an incredible show, Miss Sara Bareilles. i have to give it to her. prior to last night’s concert, i was wayyyy too enamored with Josh Radin to focus any excitment about seeing her live.

and then she came on stage, and the girl blew me away. that voice is just unreal. seriously — one of the best female vocalists i’ve ever heard live. she resounded across Central Park with her effortless, bluesy tone, and i think every single person there was surprised at how powerful her voice was. and the girl plays the piano beautifully. my friend Hanne & i could not stop commenting on how amazing her voice sounded…so much so that when we were walking out of the park, Hanne commented,

“it almost seems unfair that one person gets all that talent. i mean, that voice, that musicality, the song-writing ability…it’s like God just dumped it all on her and then said, ‘oh, and Hanne? na, she’ll be fine. she can figure it out on her own.”

we laughed, but seriously…the girl was thaaat good.

i only knew about 4 of her original songs, and she played my favorite, “Gravity,” a capalla — truly a magical moment, and the crowd was stilled by her voice. she also rocked two awesome covers: a tribute to Amy Winehouse with “Valerie,” which was done perfectly, and a blue-grassy rendition of Mumford & Son’s “Little Lion Man” (with spectacular harmonies performed by her band members) that was a fast crowd-pleaser. and she was funny! quirky, talkative, light-hearted, engaging…the girl definitely knew how to play up a crowd.

i was entirely pleasantly surprised…and completely entertained by the gay guys having a dance party near us. i mean, full-out spasmodic Broadway-esque performances, complete with wide gesturing arm motions and loud vocals. some people reallllly loved Sara. and i could see why! she made me believe in what she sang.

when she sang “Vegas,” i was ready to pack my bags and move to pursue a pipe dream. when she opened with “Uncharted,” i felt like i could take on the world with just my own little life, too. when she sang “Breathe Again,” i felt all the rush of a past heartache settle upon my shoulders again, reminding me why we fall in love with who we do and how it feels to have the sky fall down in pieces around you when he leaves.

this is what music should do. and this girl…she gets that.

i would not be exaggerating to claim that i cannot imagine a music-less existence. for me, music really is one of those things that make my little world go ’round.

my parents are largely to blame for this (thanks guys!). with an oldies-obsessed Dad and a mom who crushed on the Beach Boys and went to Janis Joplin concerts in the ’60s, we didn’t go anywhere without a soundtrack of oldies playing in the background. i was harmonizing to the Beatles when i was 10, and for my 13th birthday, they surprised me with tickets to a Beach Boys’ concert.

i knew every lyric to every song. you know…back when song topics were simple.

ahh, the good ole days of music. gotta love ’em.

over the years, my ecclectic tastes in music have run the gamut from screamo clashing to Dashboard tears (aren’t we all oh-so-emo at some point??), to whispery singer-songwriters who pulled at my heartstrings with their vulnerability and quirky indie hipster boys who jauntily provided the upbeat soundtracks for my running mixes. discovering a new singer/band whose lyrics just “get you” adds a sweep of magic to everyday life.

Josh Radin does that for me. with his feathery, whimsical voice of whispers & winds, i find myself lost in the world he’s creating. i’m driving that vegetable car; i’m taking the blue one every time; i’m strolling in that warm December, in love and in Winter.

i’m getting married (God willing) to his song “Today.” that’s basically the only thing about my one-day-maybe wedding that i have settled. and when he sang it last night — when i finalllly saw him perform, right smack dab in the heart of Central Park on SummerStage on an absolutely gorgeous evening, the very last night of August — he opened the song by saying, “People are getting married to this song, it’s kind of crazy.” and i knew he was going to play it, the song i one day hope gathers me under its umbrella of the “people” who call it their own.

because whoever else’s it is, it’s mine. and that’s the beauty of music.

(of course, i want him to play it at my wedding…after he exchanges rings with me and says “i do.” naturally.)

he put on an incredible (albiet far too short, as he was opening for Sara Bareilles) show. i could have sat and listened to him for hours, lost in the worlds his songs create. his voice was far more powerful live than on his recordings, and every bit as whimsical and beautiful. he can do absolutely no wrong by me.

weekends go wayyyy too quickly…and i feel the need to pack every single second full of funness. seriously, what else are they for? this one was pretty darn funtastic — even the relentless Saturday monsoon couldn’t ruin things (excluding our hair, of course).

Friday night found me trekking over to Brooklyn to check out the funky and fabulous Ryan Montbleau Band at Brooklyn Bowl (more about this crazy place in a moment). i’ve seen Ryan play a few times before, and he’s one of those laid-back hippie types whose upbeat music is so contagious, you really can’t help but bop and shoulder-shake. i dragged a friend who’d never been to any sort of hippie-ish concert before, and half the fun of the night was watching his bemusement at the crazies cutting loose all around us.

i think maybe i was a hippie in my last life, because i kinda love them.

i was thisclose to the stage, front and center.

hellloooo, RM.

i really need to invest in a good digital camera…but even from my Droid, he’s a cutes.

if you haven’t heard of him, and you dig some raw, honest, acoustic jammy tunes, you definitely need to check him out. he might not be so widely known, but he writes some great songs and engages a crowd with his unassuming sweetness. here’s a vide of his song “75 and Sunny,” one of my faves.

i think i’ve been to Brooklyn twice before: once to get my Target fix, and the other time because that’s where you end up when you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. so far, so good with this borough.

the Brooklyn Bowl was pretty sweet. it’s literally a huge bowling alley, restaurant, bar and music venue all rolled into one big barrell of craziness…and you’d be hard pressed to find someone there who wasn’t having a spaztastically rockin’ time. i was a fan. but then again, give me some good music, and i’d probably have the time of my life at a golf tournament.

i haven’t blogged a whole lot about music, but for those of you who know me, you know it’s a big part of my life. i love all types, and there’s nothing better than hearing a new band for the first time and wondering how you ever made a running list without including them before. i (unfortunately) haven’t been to many shows since i moved to nyc, but i’m trying to change that…starting last night.

and what a show it was. enter: Cut Copy, from Melbourne, Australia.

they’re catchy. they’re energetic. they’re the perfect example of all there is to love about can’t-help-but-move-your-feet-and-shake-your-shoulders synth-electro pop. think the Cure. think dancey. think incredibly fresh and infectious. they were absolutely one of the best bands i’ve seen live in a long time — and until a month ago, i didn’t even know they existed.

i love stumbling upon new music, especially when they’re as ridiculously fun and shimmy-worthy as Cut Copy. this Aussie band has 3 albums (which i will be downloading asap), an 80s vibe in the best way imagineable, and definitely knows how to engage an audience. you’d have been hard-pressed to find a single person at Terminal 5 last night who wasn’t shaking his/her thang, myself included. (then again, it doesn’t take a lot to get my shoulders a-swayin’.)

if you’re fun, or you like music, or you like to have fun while listening to music, you should check them out. like, right now. here, i’ll help you:

i’ve long been a winter-hater.
i was born playing favorites. i guess i could work on that, if i wanted, but i think i’m comfortable in my assertion that “i’ve just always been this way,” and there i rest.
(unless you want me to choose a favorite song, or vacation spot. or pair of shoes, or restaurant…)
okay, well, i’ve never liked winter, except for the fact that it gives me snowboarding. if i could snowboard every day, i’d like winter more. heck, i might love it, and start peppering my belongings with Never Summer stickers (i like them. they rock), and move to Colorado and work at a mountain and become an assimilationist quasi-hippie who’s dangerously close to becoming sucked into the mountain culture for-ev-er. i might begin to forget the demands of a world beyond quaint-and-cozy coffee shops and a small town full of misplaced wanderers who, like me, stumbled upon this valley nook and nestled in without realizing it until suddenly, they knew everyone in town on a first-name basis and could tell where people were by the bicycles propped up against buildings.

oh wait. i did that.
and it was fun. but i’d rather be a surf bum than return to the cold.

so this morning, while swarming with the other black-clad business-attired people in the Financial District on my way to blog work, i spotted (through the clouds of breath fogging my vision) a visual reminder of my distate for January’s personality:

no, not the store. Century 21 rocks my world (and is directly across from my office — right along with Sephora, 2 shoe stores, and my bank. pretty sweet). it was the smirking “22” that irked me. i considered throwing an icey snowball at its shiny face and showing it who was boss, but the city has a lot of spectators. plus, i’m not super confident in the fact that i might not throw like a girl.

but, to be fair, there are a fewwww things i enjoy about this frigid season, and i should pay homage to them amongst all my cold-bashing.
i’ve been excited about these this season:

bailey button uggs. i love them. if you don’t, don’t hate. just accept the fact that you should. and if you’ve never put them on your feet, you have no idea what you’re missing. trust me — your toes will thank you for treating them like queens.

and these:

remember wearing earmuffs as a kid? (any other ’80s kids out there?) these are like that, only better, because they’re not cheap plastic and they don’t mess up your hair or make you look like a martian. (okay, maybe that was because mine were turquoise.) they’re cute. they’re sleek. they’re warm. oh, and the best part — they’re fuzzy. ’nuff said.

flannel pjs. because who doesn’t like to feel snuggly & cozy?

i felt like i had more, but i guess this is it for now. all this trying to conjure up reasons to like winter is exhausting. i think i’ll go grab some blueberry coffee and listen to Josh Radin’s song “Winter”  — because that’s one amazing thing that came out of this season. and not just because he sings about a girl with blue eyes (really!).  just because this song rocks.

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