starting a ladies night out group

A few weeks ago, I posted about my obsession with the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin. I love listening to this first thing in the morning to get me pumped and enthused for the day or week ahead. Each episode is a discussion about real tactics to incorporate into your life today, called try this at home.

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When Gretchen and Elizabeth spoke about joining a group as their try this at home of the week, my mind lit up like a light bulb. You see, one of the things I love about apartment living, and specifically living in a building where most residents are owners, is the community aspect. We have a building Google group and a parents group who organizes movie nights and events for kids and parents. However, I thought that perhaps we could do more. And so I had an idea to start a women's group. Specifically, a Ladies Night Out group.

So I did it.

I started by drafting an email to our building wide Google group list and parents group list, inviting the ladies of the building to meet up in our building's movie room on a specified date.

The response was amazing. So many positive comments and excitement over the chance to connect with more ladies in the building.

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The plan is that each month, we choose a weekday evening to get together. Our first gathering was earlier this month and to keep things easy and friendly, we decided to have a ladies night in. As in, I booked our buildings movie room for a wine and cheese night. So everyone brought some wine and snacks. We had a great turn out - about 25 women! And everyone was happy and excited to be there. Following that first meeting, I started a private Facebook group to keep everyone in the loop on planning, and to have a forum to just chat!

In addition to connecting with these women, my plan is also to use this as a way to check out some new spots in Jersey City. It's becoming quite the food scene and new and cool places are popping up seemingly every day. And so while part of the plan is to make it easy for everyone to attend, the other part is to explore this awesome city that we all love. I'm really psyched to make the effort to keep this going each month. I'll keep you posted on how its going, we are currently planning November's night out!

Do you belong to any groups? Would you ever join or start a group? If so, what kind?

Dessert Before Dinner

TGIT! Thank God it's Thursday! Am I right or am I right?

Last night I met my friend Nicole for girls night. We get together every month or so and usually go to the same place, The Dove Parlour, which we adore. You may remember my ravings about it here. Though we would pledge our allegiance to The DP, when we found out about Sweet Revenge, a beer, wine and...wait for it...cupcake bar in the Village, we just had to check it out. Since we meet directly after work, it meant wine and cupcakes for dinner!

Their happy hour special consists of a glass of wine and a cupcake for $10. Not a bad deal, considering many glasses of wine in a city bar are $10 on their own. I went with a glass of Pinot Noir and the Sweet Revenge cupcake, a peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache filling and pb frosting.

Nikki went with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a Dirty cupcake, a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate truffle.

It was a fun, tiny little place. My cupcake was not the best I've ever had, but I love this whole concept. By the time I arrived home at 9, however, my stomach was feeling like it needed something more substantial (and not completely sugar or alcohol laden). Though I'm always happy with a plate of crackers or carrots and hummus as a replacement dinner, Shaun swooped in and saved the day with one of his famous grilled cheese sandwiches! I devoured this while we caught up on Shameless from Sunday evening.

So that's how I ended up with dessert before dinner. Admittedly, this was not my healthiest night of eating (but that's what the treadmill is for, right?), but it was certainly fun :) So what about you? Do you ever eat dessert before dinner? Or, dessert instead of dinner?

A Ladies Night Hot Spot: The Dove Parlour

As much as I love date night with the hubs, sometimes I just need a little girl time. Whether it's touring pizza venues like Keste and Grimaldi's or brunching at Hoboken's Elysian Cafe, somehow there is always a reason for girls night. And what would it be without some serious happy hour, consisting of wine carafes and cheese platters? Now that's a ladies night that I can get down with. And I did. At West Vilage's The Dove Parlour with my friend Nicole. 

A blink-and-you-miss-it bar that's located below street level, The Dove Parlour is a fairly small locale with a bar and some low-seated tables that run along a cushioned couch. With a bit of an opulent New Orleans vibe, a darkened space lit by candles, The Dove Parlour is the simply perfect low key place to grab an affordable drink.

Their happy hour consists of a $6 drink menu, ranging from wine carafes, martinis, margaritas and cosmos. Pictured above is my glass and carafe of Syrah. And for $6? It's really a steal since you do get way more than one small glass out of the deal.

And since it's imperative to eat a little something on any ladies night, especially when there's vino involved, we opted for the cheese platter. For just $18, we got to choose 4 cheeses to accompany fresh bread and crostini, apple slices, olives, Marcona almonds, figs, and apricot jam. The ladies at the table next to us literally turned a shade of green with envy and I'm pretty sure ended up ordering one of their own.

And I should note that beyond the delectable eats and truly affordable wine, the decor is upscale yet attainable. The super chic wallpaper even featured my favorite damask-style pattern, and it was flocked, no less.

And how charming is this little fireplace? Even without a real fire inside, it still warmed up the joint and gave me ideas for any New York and beyond apartments with fake, yet pretty, fireplaces.

So that's how Nikki and I spent ladies night. Sipping vino from our own personal carafes and filling up on bread and cheese. The perfect post-work girls night, don't you think? But what I want to know from you ladies out there - how do you do girls night?