Saturday, December 28, 2013

New York City On High (Wowsah!!)

Saturday, I visited longtime pal Pamela Whamela Seaton and her fellow D.C. friends, who were staying overnight at the... ahem, Trump Soho Hotel. Mind you, this was no slummin' kinda room. They were in a 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom penthouse suite on the 43rd floor.

The views... all I can say is when you check out these pics, there are NO WORDS. Damn. *

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

On this Christmas Eve 2013, I am thankful for LIFE, friends, love and the possibilities of my new chapter in the coming year. Bless us one and all, cool cats. Below, one final Christmas, Brooklyn Heights-style.
And, alas, my last NYC Christmas, truly, when the city shines its brightest... *

Monday, December 23, 2013

Celine Dion Demonstrates Her Might On 'The Voice' Finale

"Incredible" isn't just the name of Celine Dion's fabu duet with Ne-Yo... It also describes to a "T" her performance on NBC's live finale of "The Voice" last week. She also performed a sky-scraping scat-packed rendition of classic "Love Can Move Mountains" with newly crowned winner Tessanne Chin. See the performances here and here!

In addition, on December 18, Celine hosted the 15th annual "A Home For The Holidays" special, performing tracks from new album "Loved Me Back To Life," alongside Ne-Yo and Chris Young.

The album LMBTL is now four times Platinum in Canada, two times Platinum in France, two times Gold in the U.K., and Gold in Belgium, Hungary, Poland and South Africa, selling (a comparatively humble) 1.3 million copies worldwide. Following its early
November release, "Loved Me Back To Life" soared to No. 1 on iTunes in 44 countries.

In Canada, the disc has remained a Top 10 hit since its release—selling 105,000 copies in its first week, making it the highest sales chart debut in the country since 2008. In the U.K., the album has also remained lodged in the Top 10 since its release.

To support the release, Queen Celine has blanketed TV, including U.S. appearances on "Today," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," "The View," "CBS This Morning," "Ellen," QVC and "The Dr. Oz Show" (yep, I've seen every one of them) and in the U.K., on "Strictly Come Dancing" and "The X Factor." And, of course, she continues her sell-out show in Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace. Bravo, girl!

P.S. No wedding ring on "The Voice." Starting to get anxious about the continuing reports that her marriage with Rene Angelil is troubled. Uh oh. *

Friday, December 20, 2013

ENCORE: A Spanking New Life Chapter

In the immortal words of Peter Brady, “When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange.” And so, after 18 years of living in New York City, I am leaving the metropolis to launch the next chapter of my life. Yup, it’s a tough decision, but the result of two years of careful consideration.

Over 10 days in September, I shared on Facebook: “10 Reasons It’s Time To Leave NYC," and now offer an encore, with all the goods packed into one post...

#1: I miss driving. I miss outdoor space. I miss spreading my arms without hitting a wall. I dream about a gentler quality of life...

#2: NYC is a city of dreams. I’ve had a wondrous, indelible, fulfilling, rewarding, spirited chapter here, and I lived out my lifetime ambition at Billboard magazine to the fullest. Now let’s make room for somebody else’s dream.

#3: Dogs were designed by god to run with the wind, not trail behind on a leash sniffing cement. Offering my Abby & Spencer freedom to roam fills me with glee.

#4: All I need to write are a keyboard and my fingers. I have the great fortune of a portable talent.

#5: I’m 51. I came to New York at 34. Alas, no longer do I desire to carouse the East Village until 3 a.m. NYC is a playground for the younger. Growing older in New York is unquestionable for many. But I have options and freedom… let’s see what's behind Door No. 3.

#6: After fastidiously paying off the mortgage for my Brooklyn Heights apartment in eight years, shelling out a monthly $1,100 “coop maintenance fee” for the privilege of living in a building (albeit, beautiful) with 30 other families is madness… & maddening. Enough, already.

#7: When guiding a lawnmower—and driving a car—sound more appealing than riding the subway, I’m thinking it’s time to turn the page.

#8: When I was in my 20s, a friend said, “Some people are lucky. It’s an energy. They have an inherent ability to generate good things for themselves. You are one of those people.” Over the past four years, I haven’t felt lucky. It’s time to reignite that force field—with the challenge of a new adventure.

#9: In Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen,” there’s a line, “Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard.” OK, I still choke up when I listen to Celine, I giggle when the doggies yawn & I swoon over a Brooklyn Heights sunset… but let’s not risk it, y'know? I want to leave New York while I still love it.

And now… THE REVEAL! In October 1995, I came to NYC for my life-long dream job at Billboard magazine—rewarded with a stupendous career, committed friendships, a 10-year marriage and an apartment in a majestic nabe. But over the past couple years—as a single freelancer hustling for every dime in a $$$$ city—I felt the itch for change.

First order of business: Can you leave the world’s greatest city without wincing? Reflecting on my 20s/early 30s in beloved DC, I concluded that yup, a new locale offers opportunity for spanking new adventures… But, uh, where?

My checklist: warmth, water, s-p-a-c-e, grass, a car(!), a job(?)... and a gentler quality of life. After months poring over real estate listings in Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Petersburg, Austin, on & on, I found my next promised land.

If the puzzle pieces snap into place, in 1Q 2014, I shall relocate to HAMPTON ROADS, VA., comprising Virginia Beach & Norfolk. My Brooklyn Heights apartment thankfully has sold. I now await the processing of contracts & piles of legal hoo-haw. Meanwhile, I have had the great fortune of finding—and buying—my dream home in Norfolk.

This mid-century modern property was built in 1962, faces 400-acre Lake Whitehurst, offers a generous yard for Abby & Spencer to run & roam—and as my Virginia realtor Katie Zarpas squealed, “This is the ultimate bachelor pad!” Think “Mad Men.”

It wasn’t a requirement of relocating, but as a bonus, I have 15-year dear pals in Virginia Beach: Mary & Bill and Francie are just down the road.

I hope to see youse at the First Annual Hampton Roads Housewarming Party! Y’all come see me, you hear? Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Leaving New York City: So Close I Can Smell It!

Just back in NYC after four days in Norfolk, Va., with my gal pal Suzanne in tow, scouring my soon-to-be new home before the big move in mid-January 2014. While I was away, the
buyers of my beloved Brooklyn Heights apartment were APPROVED by the coop board. Check!

Next up in the ever-complicated real estate realm of NYC: bringing together attorneys on both sides, alongside the buyers and meese to seal the deal.

I am now working with all parties for a closing date of Monday, January 13 for the signing, meaning that I will hopefully head south one day later and begin this wondrous new chapter just about one month from now... Of course, during the visit this week, how could I not connect with forever friends Francie and Mary & Bill, who were so integral in the initial September search?

Following is a sprinkling of pics from the visit, which was wildly different from my first sighting in September, when all was still green... and yet, Winter is just as beautiful, facing Lake Whitehurst...The beautiful neighborhood of Ghent in Norfolk... And more of the house on Heutte...