Sunday in Paris

Sunday is still a day of rest in Paris.  Few restaurants are open, some museums are open and basically no stores.  It is a good day for the park or just strolling.  There are a few green markets open too.

We started out at Cafe Flore.  It is overpriced and a tad touristy but we love going.

We ran a few errands stopping by the Raspail Food Market to pick up some strawberries.  The strawberries right now are so good it is almost like eating sugar.  Makes you wonder why we even attempt to eat them in January.

Our journeys took us to the Marais.  L’As Du Fallafel is one of the best on the Rue de Rosiers.  We went with the vegetarian.  Delish!

Before dinner, we went to the Hemingway Bar.  The Ritz has been under construction for the past few years so we returned to see what they have done.  Honestly, the bar looks exactly the same as it did before.  It is extremely overpriced and definitely touristy but it is a fun.  I had a Lemon Charlie which is lemon infused vodka mixed with fresh lemon juice and chilled.  Insanely refreshing and good.

Then we went to L’Ami Louis.  Have not been there in over 10 years but decided it was time to return.  It is the place to go for chicken.  If vegetables are what you are after this would not be for you.  It is an institution.

We had the jambon.

A steak.


And of course the whole roasted chicken.  I missed the shot before they took it back to slice.

After dinner, we walked back and stopped at Pozzetto for gelato.  A nice way to end the evening.

From Friends to Founders – Claire Mazur & Erica Cerulo, Podcast #27

Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo are the Co-Founders of Of A Kind, a hand-curated e-commerce site that connects consumers with artists and designers that create unique and small-run finds.  Claire and Erica explain how their business was born from friendship — and how an idea hatched late at night during a resume writing session, became the new model for finding one of a kind pieces online and beyond.  They also have a killer podcast.

Bread and Roses, Picasso Museum and Au Passage

The first day in Europe is always tough.  Getting on the time zone is about soldering through the exhaustion from lack of sleep on the plane over.  It is just part of the drill.  We usually get here, shower, eat and then stay out as long as possible until about 5 where a nap is in need before going out to dinner with the hope that after dinner we hit the pillow hard.

We started this journey in Paris.  After the bag drop and a shower, we wandered down the street to Bread and Roses for salads.

And incredible pastries.  Strawberries

Paris Brest…one of my faves.

We walked through the Luxembourg Garden which is one of my favorite parks in Paris.  Kids were out navigating their boats around the fountain.

I’ve been to the Picasso museum countless times over the years.  They recently renovated so I have seen the museum through three different restorations.  Currently, there is an exhibit around Olga, his first wife, and son Paul.  I had not seen many of the pieces before.

I am always amazed how insanely prolific Picasso was.  This is of his son Paul as a baby.


The Marais has changed a lot over the past decade.  Art galleries are in abundance including clothing stores.  One of my favorite streets is still right where the L’Enfant Marche des Rouges is located.  Inside the market is a variety of different food stalls with outdoor seating.  Outside there are a sausage/ham store, chocolate shop, pastry shop, fruit shop and more.  This is Caractere de Cochon around the corner L’Enfant.

Beautiful flowers at L’Enfant.

Also the bakery Bontemps down the street.

We went back for that nap before going to Au Passage for dinner.  This is my second time back to Au Passage.  All the plates are for sharing and the wine list is huge.  The place is simple, local and quite good.

The barnacles…tastes like lobster.

This is a serious winner.  Octopus hotdog style.  The housemade sweet/sour mango relish on top in a soft bun might be something we have to recreate this summer.

Roasted lamb shoulder that is off the charts and a house specialty.

We were exhausted, full and ready to collapse with the hope of getting on the time zone so we passed on the dessert and cheese plate this time but we will be back!

The Lowline

I first heard of the Lowline many years ago when Dan Barasch and James Ramsey came to talk to me about their vision. In true NY fashion, they have been plugging away at this for years and progress has been made.  The Lowline, located on the Lower East Side, plans to transform an abandoned underground trolley station into a garden and community space.

It will definitely be a one-of-a-kind underground park.  It used to be a place where kids would go and party.  I know because all of our kids have been down there.

The process to build a space around community dreams is not seamless.  You can’t get anything built like this without getting community buy-in and that means townhall meetings in schools, getting so many signatures on petitions etc.  It takes years and years and years.
Technology has finally come to constructing new spaces.  CoUrbanize is an online platform for developing real estate projects.  It is an amazing way of hearing everyone’s voice in the community and disseminating information out.  CoUrbanize is leading the charge to help build the Lowline.
People from all over the LES have been contributing ideas on the coUrbanize site, at community workshops, and most recently, via text message.  The information also continues online in three different languages.
There are Signs placed in parks that invite people to share their vision for the Lowline. Text messages post to the project page just like online comments.  People are suggesting amazing things — acoustic concerts, gardening classes, a roller derby, a salt cave… you name it.  This type of response and collaboration would never happen without technology.  Someone might yell something out at a town hall meeting but it doesn’t get captured in a place where others can comment and add to the thoughts.  This technology really creates a community around new projects because it gives every voice and a chance to speak and because of this, the Lowline is shaping up to be something special for everyone, no matter their age, background, or income.
It was founded by an MIT planning school grad, Karin Brandt.  In Karin’s experience, online participation results in richer feedback and quicker consensus.  I met Karin when she was just building her company.  As someone who has had their finger in construction, I loved what she is doing and invested early on.  I have seen this technology bring a community together over a project instead of pulling one apart.  I have also seen buildings taking heed to what the community says and get a building in the ground in much less time.  It is a win for everyone.
Take a look at the project online.  The public input process wraps up this June, and the Lowline is eyeing an opening date in 2021.

Trump’s War on Women

Some readers in Santa Cruz of this blog put together a timeline of Trump’s War on Women.  It is worth clicking through!


I did a TEDX talk for NYIT (NY Institute of Technology) about a month ago.  The filming is absolutely dreadful and unfortunate but the speech is something I am passionate about… persistence, ambition and confidence.  If you can get past the visual, have a listen.

A Feminist Manifesto

I really enjoyed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first novel, Americanah.  It is about the life struggles of an African immigrant living in America.  Insightful look into racism, love, immigration and growing up in America.

I picked up her recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.  It has been sitting on the coffee table in our family room.  Over the course of a month, I would pick it up and just read a chapter at a time when I had a few minutes of down time before going somewhere.  I plan on reading this book again and again.

Ths book is a letter to a friend who wants to make sure her children are feminists seeking her advice.  Her advice is rich in simplicity yet unapologetic, authentic and deeply thoughtful.  In many ways, the book is pure common sense but I only wish that many parents had this type of common sense.

One of the tidbits that really stuck with me was how her male friend whose wife left him with two young children to raise who tells Adichie that he now has the role of a mom.  He meant is in a loving way but she says to him, in a warm yet firm tone, that no he is just a father doing his job.  I just loved this.  Those “roles” are perceived from the minute are children come out of the womb and it has to shift.

This is a book that everyone must read.  I plan on giving it to each of my children when they have kids of their own.  It is a manifesto to live by.

Summer has begun

We have begun summer early this year.  I am writing from Europe where we plan to spend the entire month of June. Our journeys will take us to Paris and parts of Italy and Berlin.  Fred and I are attempting to be off the grid for the month to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.

We have been together for about 36 years.  The only thing that has changed is we have more money in our pocket but our relationship is pretty much the same since we first met.  People have asked, what is the key to staying together for so long?  I’d say respect for each other’s abilities, wanting and enjoying the same things out of life, having the same set of morals and values and having a completely equal partnership.

We are really excited to take it down a few notches this summer…as we always try to but as we get older, the notches might get lower and lower as the years continue.

Accelerators and to become self-sustaining

Over the past decade, there has been a rise of accelerators and incubators around the start-up community.  Start-ups from fin-tech to fashion to software to cannabis.

Accelerators are usually places that founders apply to and if accepted they spend an extended amount of time in the program.  Many of the programs really help the founders accelerate their business with the curriculum that they have set forth.  That includes mentors that come in and speak to the founders.  Also, a community sitting under one roof who are focused on the same thing although their businesses are different, the camaraderie plays a big part as well as the start of a business, no matter the content, has many of the same issues.

Accelerators are models where the company running the accelerator puts in an amount of cash to own a piece of the business from the beginning although they continue to help as they move forward because they have skin in the game.

Incubators vary.  Some of them are run by VC’s while others are run by organizations from the Government to companies with real estate that is committed to putting start-ups under one roof.  We are seeing more of these incubators from Grand Central Tech to the Navy Yards.  They are committed to helping these young companies grow yet many of those models do not take a piece of the companies but they do help from bringing in speakers, creating community, giving advice, etc.  Even at Hot Bread Kitchen, they manage a program for young food companies.

One of the things that I have talked to a few of the people running incubators is to shift their model a bit.  They are not doing as much as an accelerator but they are providing a huge solid to these start-ups.  I would suggest that every company that gets space in an incubator gives 1% to that “landlord” and even take it to another level where those companies could have a tag line “powered by the incubator”.  It creates a solid brand for those incubators and links a community together of everyone who comes through that space.  If one of those companies take off and the payoff is large then there will be a pot of cash that will pay for other programs in the space or if lucky, the rent for many years to come

Changing landscape of entrepreneurs

College graduates today will be more entrepreneurial than ones of the past.  The opportunities are broader than ever before, the ability to start your own company is easier, the variety of jobs where you can make enough cash while figuring out what you are really interested in on a daily basis is available and people now more than ever are looking for ownership of their own destiny.

I spoke with a young woman this past week who had built her own company while going to law school, started her own firm and eventually jumped ship to only spend time in her start-up.  What I loved about her company is that not only has she found product market fit, she is essentially profitable.  She could raise money to grow or just continue to boot-strap by pouring her profits back into the business.  Could the business be a billion dollar business?  Maybe but could it be a business that feeds her lifestyle, absolutely.

The other day I had the pleasure of being a judge for the Tory Burch Fellowship.  Hundreds of women applied to this and they narrowed it down to 10 women.  Each of these women is incredible.  They have each built businesses that are making money.  Some of them have raised capital and others have not.  Their vision and passion are inspiring. What really struck me is how 9 of the 10 businesses were not your classic start-ups.  Most were consumer product focused through products to experiences and most of them were not from your start-up communities.  Each of them is making it and could easily continue onward with their scrappy attitudes to build lifestyle businesses or perhaps bigger businesses.

I seriously applaud Tory for what she is doing here.  She has built a mega-brand over the course of the past 12 years and is giving back to women by giving advice, support and counsel to the female fellows who go through this program so regardless who wins, they all win.  The top winner gets a loan of $50K and $50K as a gift.

Women who rise to the top must do more of this to help give other women advice, perhaps capital and community so that we can create more female-led businesses.  Just a guess but the real winner here is Tory as she must feel quite amazing about what she is doing with her foundation.  She should.