— Essentials —

BRENDA COFFEE’S FAVORITE THINGS

Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn
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Last week, I brought home an unwanted souvenir from a recent trip to New York City: My first case of Covid. Everything about my trip was fun and fabulous, but Covid has left me wobbly with breathing problems and taste buds that have fled for parts unknown. Thank goodness I have lots of NYC meal memories to tide me over like the tasty fried artichokes Harry King and I had at Pastis in Soho; the warm, decadent Comté & Onion Bread with Crème Fraiche I shared with friends at Monterey, plus their Castelfranco Salad with radicchio, figs, Asian pear, pumpkin seeds, and aged sherry vinaigrette. 

The restaurant Monterey on 37 E. 50th St is one of the popular new post-Covid gifts to the city.

Then there was the great meal and private corner table I shared with old and new friends at what’s been called the “ultimate insiders’ club,” Graydon Carter’s Waverly Inn on Bank Street in the West Village. Carter, former editor of Vanity Fair magazine and now editor of AirMail online subscription magazine knows everyone, and if you’re lucky enough to get a table, don’t start looking around because your eyes will jump back and forth from business moguls to celebrities, and you won’t be able to stop yourself. On my last night in NY, I enjoyed the savory grilled shrimp at one of Avra’s stellar Greek restaurants with a woman I met “walking down the street in NYC years ago” who’s become a dear friend. 

I also spent time with Sandy Linter, who did my makeup; I went to a private trunk show in one of the suites at Leona Helmsley’s old hotel, and Lauren Ezersky took me shopping for vintage jewelry. What a hoot! No. Neither one of us bought anything, but there was lots of drooling don’t you know.

DESPERATE FOR SOMETHING THAT TASTES GOOD

In an attempt to lure my taste buds back, yesterday I made this 30-minute Saucy Ginger Sesame Noodles with Caramelized Mushrooms. I substituted gluten free noodles, and the result was a warm, rich silky brew that filled me with the energy I needed to get on the treadmill and move beyond the Covid blahs.

HEAVENLY HAIR MIST

Until recently, scents of any kind have given me a headache, but I’ve become a fan of two beautifully scented products, and no one is more surprised than me.

One is Gabrielle, Chanel’s delicate, floral Hair Mist created from the luminous floral notes of jasmine, bright ylang-ylang, sparkling orange blossom, and the feminine Grasse tuberose. Since I only spray a tiny bit of the fine mist in my hair, the bottle will last me a long time.

POTTERY BARN’S DIFFUSER SCENT COLLECTION

The other scented product I’ve fallen in love with is Cassis Rose from Pottery Barn’s signature diffuser scent collection. It’s made from Damask rose, cassis, Egyptian jasmine, neroli, tonka bean, and sandalwood and smells heavenly in my bedroom. I’ve placed it in a small silver-footed tray. It will make a lovely gift for you or someone you know.

THINGS WE NEED TO SAY TO OURSELVES

Most of us are good at reaching out to loved ones with words of support and affirmation, but how many times do we think of saying the same things to ourselves? Whether we realize it or not, how we think about and treat ourselves has a huge impact on how we go about our day and the way we manifest the things we want to see in our lives. At the start of every day, what if we remember to tell ourselves:

This has been one of the most heartbreaking holiday seasons we’ve had in a while, and it’s not just taking place in the big-picture state of the world. In the last week, three people I’m close to have experienced tragedies in their family: a suicide, a fatal car accident, and the unexpected death of a father. Many of us feel inadequate when it comes to comforting those who’ve experienced loss, so we say nothing. But it’s not what we say that’s important. It’s that we reach out and remember them with our love.

It only takes a moment, a text or a handwritten note and you only need to say, “Thinking of you. I’m sorry.”

And finally, my thanks to all of you who’ve reached out with prayers and good wishes this year when I was so sick in Italy and then for much of the summer, and now with Covid. We are wired for connection, but there have been times this year when I’ve been too sick to do anything but turn within, and your sweet and kind generosity has meant the world to me. I love you all.


50 Comments

  • Reply Deborah Smith December 2, 2023 at 5:46 am

    Oh Brenda I am sorry to hear you have been sick again. Take care and be kind to yourself Covid can hang around for a while gnawing away at our vim and vigor! I live in France now out in the countryside in Provence. I recently returned from a trip to Paris with the same souvenir. I am glad you are still up to creating your blog. I enjoy reading about your experiences and your recommendations for making our day to day lives special. Keep on keeping on and post more pictures of your lovely self and the beautiful outfits you put together. You inspire me!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 12:42 pm

      Oh, no! You have Covid, too? I hope it’s sliding into the background, unlike mine which continues to remind me it’s here. Thank you for the encouragement and sweet words because you inspire me! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Janet Triplett December 2, 2023 at 7:05 am

    Brenda, thank you. I really look forward to seeing your posts in my mailbox. It’s always a surprise and I do so appreciate the way you so transparently share your life with us. I hope you recover soon from your bout with Covid. It affects folks in so many different ways. You truly are an inspiration!! Thank you again!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 12:43 pm

      I love you, Janet Triplett! Thanks so much for this sweet note. You’ve boosted my spirits. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply MARLA Grant December 2, 2023 at 7:09 am

    Hi Brenda – I’m new here but already loving what I see – authenticity is bedrock stuff for me. I was recently interviewed for a book featuring women over 50 who are still vital and engaged in life. I loved the opportunity to tell 0ur younger sisters what a wonderful time it is in our lives and not to believe anything less. Dance remains in my life as it has since I was 12 and a few years ago at 68, I took up fire dancing. This year at 71 I reinvented myself and stepped fully into a new career, helping people discover the healing, joy and the aliveness that life still has to offer, even as we carry the memory of loved ones in our hearts.

    And yes! Thank you for bringing up how difficult this time of year can be for those who have lost a loved one. “But it’s not what we say that’s important. It’s that we reach out and remember them with our love.” So true. People who are experiencing loss love to hear their loved one’s name and to speak about them. We can never go wrong by saying, “I know this must be such a tough time of year for you. Tell me one of your happiest holiday memories with ….” Or “What was one of the things you loved most about him.” There are no guarantees that there won’t be some tears, but they will be SO grateful that you asked and didn’t ignore the obvious because as you’ve said, so many people don’t.

    Wishing you a speedy and complete recovery from your unwanted COVID hitchhiker. I hope your sense of taste and smell fully return in time to enjoy the scents of the season. Warm regards and happy holidays.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      Marla, Fire dancing! I had to look that one up. You’re manifesting your power in so many ways. I’m mesmerized and full of questions like how did you get started? What was it like the first time you threw fire around your body? You have to be fully committed. No half-throwing with this sport/art form. And speaking of authenticity, what power you have to help others. Brava! Thank you for subscribing, because I’m looking forward to getting to know more about you. Happy Holidays, Marla, Brenda

  • Reply jeannette December 2, 2023 at 7:29 am

    Happy to see a post from you today Brenda. Covid is still very much part of our lives….I couldn’t agree more about so much going wrong in our world. I love the list of what to tell ourselves. This is something I have to work on.
    Take good care and I hope you will be back to normal very soon.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 12:52 pm

      I’m happy to see your comment, Jeannette! Thank you for reading. Here’s wishing you health and happiness this season. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Yvonne December 2, 2023 at 8:12 am

    Beautiful and lovely Brenda, I am so sorry to hear that you have been sick but on the mend. I will never forget when you reached out to me with words of comfort when the love of my life passed away a year ago yesterday. It meant the world to me and last week leading up to December 1st has been very difficult and I kept thinking of you and what you wrote to me. It helped me pull through. So sorry to hear about your friends facing personal tragedies. Sending love to you and your friends Take good care of yourself and think you for sharing the good and the bad.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 12:58 pm

      Dear Yvonne, I remember our correspondence and am grateful I was able to help in some small way. As you know, my husband died unexpectedly on Christmas. I know what it’s like to have your world stop spinning. Grief doesn’t have a timetable but here you are, a year out from this huge loss, and I know there were times when you didn’t think you would reach this point. Keep moving forward. Give in to the tears and all the memories. They’re the only ways I know to heal. Sending you much love and strength, Brenda

  • Reply Joan December 2, 2023 at 8:22 am

    I read every one of your posts with great interest. Best wishes for continued healing and a happy holiday season.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you, Joan. I’m grateful you enjoy what I bring you each week. And here’s wishing you a healthy, happy holiday season. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Donna Nance December 2, 2023 at 9:03 am

    We love you right back! Glad that you are feeling better! xoxo

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      Oh! Thank you, Donna! That’s the best thing you could have told me. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Colleen Haile December 2, 2023 at 9:03 am

    Brenda,
    Take care of yourself and get well soon. I agree it’s been a very difficult year for so many all over the world. Prayers for health, peace and love in the coming new year ❤️

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:05 pm

      Hello Sweet Colleen! I can’t tell you how much I love when you leave me a comment. You’re one of my rocks of Gibraltar and a note from you reassures me that all is right with this tiny corner of our world. Thank you! Stay well. Fight for family and happiness. Love, Brenda

  • Reply Dorene Bruce December 2, 2023 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for always inspiring.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      And thank you, Dorene, for being here to read my posts. Without you, there would be no reason to share. I appreciate you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Barbara December 2, 2023 at 9:30 am

    Brenda, It’s obvious you have a wide cross section of friends in the most interesting places and with little wonder. Those of us who read your blogs know how genuine and thoughtful you are so it speaks well that your new friends at the corner table love you as well. Here’s hoping you heal from Covid and you stay out of the line of fire from the other nasty bugs out there. Xo, Barb

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:09 pm

      You’re a love, Barb! What a sweet thing to say. You know how to make a girl feel good. I think we’re all in the line of fire this year, so be well yourself and Happy Holidays! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Samantha December 2, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Okay! No more! You’ve had your quota of Covid and mystery illnesses this year. Here’s sending you a small prescription of the love and inspiration you generously share with us!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:12 pm

      Got it, Samantha! In my world, love and inspiration always come with refills, so thank you! Take care of yourself! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Donna December 2, 2023 at 9:47 am

    I was thinking about you, going to check-in to see how your recovery was going, and here you are! Glad you found something to give you the needed inspiration to get moving – the recipe sounds delicious! Maybe it will work it’s magic on me, too. The Chanel hair mist sounds delicious, I know you don’t like perfumes, so it must be something extra-special. Like you! Feel 100% better soon, my friend. XO

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:13 pm

      Donna, “Maybe it will work it’s magic on me, too.” Hmmm… Not sure I like the sound of that. Please tell me you’re not sick. Love, Brenda

  • Reply Sunni Lowe December 2, 2023 at 9:54 am

    From what I know you are a tough woman who soldiers on without asking for help. That’s an admirable quality but if I lived nearby I would drop off warm yummy things for you to eat and call in the troops to do for you like you do for them.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you, Sunni! You sound like my friend, Deb, who, before I was out of the hospital, set up jobs for all of my friends. I’m lucky to have all of you in my life. Brenda

  • Reply Georgia December 2, 2023 at 10:07 am

    Missed you. Take care. You are appreciated.
    Georgia

    • Reply Katherine December 2, 2023 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Brenda,
      Oh no, so very sorry to hear you picked up Covid and feeling so rotten. Experiencing breathing issues and the loss of your taste buds is scary. My thoughts and prayers are with you for a full recovery. I hope you have a few people close by that can support you during this time.
      Just how did you develop a friend you met on the streets in NYC? What a great story to share.
      I love your sunglasses on you. Are those Ray
      Ban. I have started to look for new sunglasses frames that are super light and I did try on a pair of Jimmy Choo that are aviator, they are fun. Still looking at others.
      What address do I send snail mail to?
      Take TLC of yourself.

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:27 pm

        Katherine, sweet lady! You’re cute. The woman in question and I were walking down the street in NYC next to one another. I noticed both of us were wearing lymphedema sleeves on one of our arms. I raised my arm so she could see mine and said, “Breast cancer?” She nodded and our conversation went from there. Both of us were walking to Whole Foods, and by the time we checked out with our groceries, we’d decided to meet for dinner that night. There’s nothing like fighting for your life to bond you with a total stranger. Since then, we’ve traveled together and been there for one another on a regular basis. Yes, my sunglasses are Ray Ban. I was inspired by the ones Nancy Donahue was wearing in my Ageless Style interview with her. https://1010parkplace.com/ageless-style-with-supermodel-nancy-donahue/ For my address, click on the CONTACT link below and I’ll respond. Loved answering your questions! xoxox, Brenda

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:17 pm

      And you are appreciated as well, Georgia. Thank you for letting me know! xoxox, Brenda

      • Reply Laureen Satabe December 7, 2023 at 1:28 am

        I knew of the summer & recent health issues but only just found out about Italy by going back in your blogs and reading about it! I am amazed at your continued resilience my friend … totally amazed. But so grateful. Your time in New York sounds fabulous, so glad you had the opportunity to enjoy yourself aside from the “hitchhiker” you brought home with you. The positivity you exude is what each of us need to cultivate. Best always & hope to get together soon.

        • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 9, 2023 at 12:55 pm

          Thank you, Laureen. You’re always so supportive and I appreciate your loving friendship. Soon! Love, Brenda

  • Reply Mark S James December 2, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Hi Brenda,
    Get well soon!
    How is the book progressing?
    Mark

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Mark! Glad to know you’re still around. I half expect you to come up my front walk. Thank you for the well wishes. When I know more about the book, I’ll do a blog post about it. Hate to be so vague about it, but it’s a complicated procedure. It’s a wonder anyone writes and publishes a book. Brenda

  • Reply deanna December 2, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    Sorry to hear about the souvenir from what sounds like a lovely trip. Take care. And thank you for the gift suggestions. I may look for a little silver tray and then get the diffuser for a gift for my DIL. Such a beautiful presentation.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:34 pm

      Deanna, I think the little silver tray is beautiful as well. A unique way to underscore how special the bottle is. I looked online to find one like mine, but couldn’t. Actually, I bought it at a little shop I love in NYC. I checked, but they don’t have another one. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Linda Floyd December 2, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Brenda, first, hope you recover quickly…
    I can’t thank you enough for the list of things to say to support yourself!!! WOW, you’re right we don’t think about saying these things to ourselves. Sending to my family and all my friends as a friendly reminder to nourish our own spirt!
    Thank you,
    Linda Floyd

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Linda!!! Always love seeing you here! I’m glad you like the list of things to tell ourselves. Too many of us buy into the negativity of what others tell us and how they treat us, or we wait for validation from others when we should be our own cheerleader. “You can do this!” “You’ve got this, girl.” “Keep going.” Self-affirmations have always helped me. Blessings to you, Linda, Brenda

  • Reply La Contessa December 2, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    You tell us that woman did your make up and wear SUNGLASSES!Guess that will be another Post!Happy to hear you made it through the trip with delightful memories!Plus meeting up with so many people!Great Fun!
    I tell myself “It’s Okay” all the time or “Tomorrow will do!”I got a good chuckle out of that!
    That’s a good reminder for all to be there for others!
    You know how I feel about that!
    At the moment two friends dealing with stuff!
    I’m trying to stay connected even if it’s just a photo of the animals hoping it will put a smile on their face.
    I hope the TASTE BUDS COME BACK!!
    Xoxo

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:42 pm

      Elizabeth, That’s Lauren Ezersky in the photo with me. The sun was bright and there was nothing special about my makeup that day, or I would have showed you. The other photo of me is with Sandy’s makeup on. Actually, that was the only photo of me I liked with full makeup. Vanity. Still alive and well. Stay well, sweet friend, Brenda

  • Reply Tammy December 3, 2023 at 5:32 am

    Oh no! I am so sorry that you got Covid… I didn’t realize that when I reached out earlier today. I will be praying that you have a speedy and complete recovery. My mom is getting over Covid too. I always think of you during the Christmas season and I pray for you…I know you have the most amazing memories. Jonathan and I send our love and so many huge hugs!! We love you!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you, Tammy! I don’t know how you do it all: think of others, care for Jonathan, and put out emergencies every day. You’re an amazing woman, and I love you, back! Brenda

  • Reply Squeak December 3, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    My dear Brenda, I’m so sorry that you have Covid. I had it about a year and a half ago and I lost my sense of taste. I still don’t have it back. I can tell if something is salty or sweet or sour or hot, but that’s about it. On the plus side (or the minus side, as the case may be), I’ve lost 27 pounds so far this year! Yee-ha! I’m going to try your delicious sounding recipe, though.

    I really hope you get better soon and get your sense of taste back. It sounds like you had a fabulous trip, though. Good for you!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 1:48 pm

      Hi Squeak! Where’ve you been? Twenty-seven pounds? That’s terrific! Brava! Diet? Exercise? That’s a real achievement, so congratulations!! The mushroom noodle soup is low-calorie and will wake up your taste buds. Thanks for the well wishes, and I’m sending them right back at you! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Rosemarie December 5, 2023 at 9:23 pm

    Hi there Brenda
    Oh my re COVID – I’ve been hearing more and more people getting it. Coming to/from Hawaii this past week only 2 and then only 3 of us were wearing masks on the plane. To me it is necessary in confined area for hours.
    Hope you feel better and better each day.
    Such delicious flavourful food you had. So many varied memories were created on this trip.
    Glad you reminded us to definitely reach out to people who experience tragedies as it will show we really do care.
    What a nice bond you made walking down the street.
    Must share something funny with you – today is my birthday – yesterday I thought I will be entering a new decade – the 70s. Then in the evening it dawned on me that I’m already 1/2 way thru the decade as I am turning 75!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 5, 2023 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Rosemarie, Like you, I was one of the few people wearing masks in the airport and on the plane. I could have picked it up in NYC although no one I was with got Covid. Thank goodness! Happy Birthday!! The same thing happened to me. We think turning a certain age, especially 70-something will be so memorable, and then realize we’ve been here for a while. It’s always a shock isn’t it? I never imagined myself even turning 50, and when I did, I looked like I always had. Same when I turned 60. Me? Sixty? No way! No big deal but life slips past us in a blink. Let’s promise one another to live every moment and if we reach the point where we feel like we’re just marking time, then let’s make some changes. Loved your note, so thank you and again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply cindy December 6, 2023 at 7:51 am

    I really enjoyed this post Brenda. I hope you are on the mend. I have yet to get covid…knock on wood.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 7, 2023 at 8:30 pm

      Cindy, Glad to hear you’ve dodged Covid. I’ve been super careful and didn’t think I’d get it. I do know I don’t want it again! Stay well. Brenda

  • Reply Doreen McGettigan December 11, 2023 at 10:17 am

    I am so sorry to read that you are sick. I hope by now you are at least on the road to recovery. I am on such a strict diet so I appreciated living vicariously through you and enjoying those amazing photos!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 13, 2023 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Doreen, I’m doing well and I’m on a strict diet as well, partially because of kidney stones, and recently I became gluten-free which has been amazing! Love you my friend, Brenda

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