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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Not According to Plan

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While cleaning out my childhood bedroom, I found a letter I wrote to myself for a high school assignment. I was ready to enroll in college with a musical theatre major, hold onto my circle as tightly as possible, and graduate with a structured plan. 

16-year old me had no idea what was coming.

Behold: an incredibly tattered, messy, flashy letter of a 16-year old – who also seemed to have forgotten to write her name on the front.

As the end of my senior year was swiftly approaching, I began feeling uneasy about the decisions I was planning for myself. I was auditioning at various schools for musical theatre, and something just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like I was connecting to the schools as deeply as I expected to. I remember sitting in the library staring at a blank screen where my 6 other college essays were supposed to be. Suddenly, the idea of a 4-year commitment towards something I was unsure of felt daunting.

And so, at 17 I decided to take a gap year. This time period was incredibly messy, uncertain, and not according to plan. I realized that no one really tells you what to do if/when you decide not to go to college, so I was figuring it out all on my own – which, for someone with anxiety, was not the ideal situation at first! I realized how many stigmas there truly are surrounding work ethic, as I’d be asked the constant questions: “Where do you go to school? What’s your job? What do you do?” At first, any time I’d be faced with these questions, I’d internally panic, fumbling around for any combination of words I could that would make it sound like “I had things figured out.” In reality, my answer at the time was I dont know what I’m doing at the moment and am currently figuring it out.

I’ve experienced feeling a lot of shame surrounding “figuring things out,” and it’s taught me just how much pressure there is, especially on our youth, to have your life structured around one set plan, and stick to it. What’s so wrong about needing time to figure things out? And why do things have to seem overly grand and extravagant to have significant value?

I learned that there can be numerous options and opportunities linked to one specific passion or plan. For example, I began working as a teaching artist during my gap year, and found that I really enjoyed developing leadership and educator skillsets. I loved becoming familiar with the behind the scenes elements to theater, which made me understand my initial passion that much more.

There is just as much value in human experiences that you can learn and thrive in. There is just as much value in taking time to get to know yourself better, assert boundaries, and setting aside time for rest. Things don’t have to be large and glamorous all the time in order to possess meaning surrounding your life. Although I’m still working on taking the advice I give, my life experiences are continuing to teach me just how much value lies in following what feels right – even if it isn’t according to plan.

Gemma Farquhar is the writer of "Gemma's Gem of the Week" and author of "The Shape of Something New." She is passionate about the future of storytelling and welcomes all ages to her column.

Events

Avengers Tower Sets Meet And Greet With Signing

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C. B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and The LEGO Group Senior Graphic Designer Mark Tranter will be at the Fifth Ave LEGO Store this Friday, December 1st from 5pm-6pm signing the Avengers Tower set—the most iconic building in the Avengers Universe, with 5,201 pieces and an all-star cast of 31 figures.

The Avengers Tower, formerly known as Stark Tower, was a high-rise building complex located in Manhattan. Constructed by Tony Stark, the tower was powered by an Arc Reactor that made it capable of running itself for over a year. The top ten floors housed the research and development initiatives.

Following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark Tower became the main headquarters of the Avengers. However, after the Ultron Offensive, Stark refurbished a Stark Industries warehouse upstate into the Avengers Compound to use as their primary base while Avengers Tower was repurposed for Stark Industries’ use. In the aftermath of the Avengers Civil War, Stark sold the tower and moved all of its equipment to the Avengers Compound.

By 2024, the tower, under its new ownership, had gone through extensive construction and renovation.

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Food and Drink

Lifevine Brings a Sparkle to Your Holiday Party

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Lifevine is a wine that is oh so fine this holiday season for all the right reasons.

If you are looking for an alternative for drinking this holiday season look no further than these incredible bottles that will forever find a place in your home.

The wine brand with zero sugar is a wine lovers dream. All in the brand’s portfolio is excellent in every single sip and it feels oh so good to know it is one of the first wines to list both serving facts and ingredients on the bottle. They believe in providing you the transparency you deserve so that you can make the best choices about what you put in your body.

As the company states, “We set out to produce a wine to fit your active lifestyle. We wanted a wine that offered excellent taste, purity, zero sugar* and full transparency. That is why we created Lifevine. We are committed to the highest level of transparency because we believe you should know what’s in your wine. Beyond zero sugar*, we want our wine to be free of harmful toxins and pesticides, without compromising quality or flavor. For this reason, we lab test all of our wines and submit them to a 3rd party standards organization to certify and award for things like organic and purity.”

Your holiday parties are set to buzz with delight with such an amazing alternative that tastes great and will not make you feel guilty the next day.

Varietals include Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and more. Lifevine is lab tested for purity, certified pesticide free and committed to label transparency.

Here is to your perfect holiday with Lifevine.

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Entertainment

Park Terrace Hotel, Hotel Chocolat and Ofreh

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Park Terrace Hotel

Hotel Chocolat kicked-off the holidays and unveil the Velvetiser‘s pop-up for the season.

Velvetiser’

Apple Pie Hot Chocolat from Velvetiser’

We miss the fireworks at the Bryant Park Christmas Tree lighting ceremony but we did watch Ofreh sing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Click here to hear her husband Andy Karl singing “Sleigh Bells”.

Healthy snacks and drinks abounded.

Rice paper stuffed with vegetables

Reconnecting with Diva Gals Daily Samantha Bessudo Drucker

Diva Gals Daily Maureen Martin

Diva Gals Daily Delaina Dixon with Hot Chocolat

A salted caramel rum old fashion

From the balcony of the Park Terrace Hotel

From the balcony of the Park Terrace Hotel

From the balcony of the Park Terrace Hotel

There was plenty of holiday cheer, a holiday sing-along and plenty of European style hot chocolate, festive cocktails and bites. What a way to start the season.

 

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Entertainment

Bryant Park Tree Lighting and Andy Karl

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Tonights tree lighting was hosted by Broadway performer Mauricio Martínez and Tony Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Jenn Colella, the Tree Lighting event featured live skating performances from Olympic skaters Mariah Bell, Karen Chen, Ryan Bradley, and World Champion skating pair Alexa Knierim and Brandon Fraizer, as well as Ice Theatre of New York, Figure Skating in Harlem, and The Skyliners. 

However I was across the street at the Park Terrace Hotel  where Hotel Chocolat kicked-off the holidays and unveil the Velvetiser‘s pop-up for the season.

t where Andy Karl and his wife Orfeh. Here is Andy singing “Sleigh Bells”.

The tree before

The tree before

The bottom of the tree

The tree after

The igloos

The ice

The ice skaters

Tomorrow look for the performances from Jenn Colella and Mauricio Martínez.

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Food and Drink

Did You Know You Can Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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Did you know Tiffany & Co. has the Blue Box Café on the fourth floor nestled within The Landmark, store Tiffany’s 5th Avenue. Inspired by the iconic Tiffany’s heritage, Daniel Boulud, opened a charmingly elegant café that offers three signature culinary experiences for elevated daytime dining.

You can order Breakfast at Tiffany’s | $59. This includes a plain Croissant, Oranais and apricot danish, Madeleine a french butter cake, Parfait Framboise Hampton’s granola, raspberry coulis, Pineapple Rosace with kiwi, lychee, pomegranate, vanilla, lime, Egg In A Shell scrambled egg and caviar. To drink a glass of Golightly, carrot, orange, pineapple, mango and ginger.

There is also Holly’s Favorites | $34. This includes a Croissant, Jam, Fresh Fruit Juice and cafe or Chocolat Chaud.

Tea At Tiffany’s| $98. This includes

Tea Sandwiches

egg & watercress
cucumber, dill & cream cheese
smoked salmon “bagel”
chicken curry & mango chutney
corned beef, mustard & pickles

Scones: traditional scones, jam and double cream

Cookies: canelé, madeleine and coconut rocher

Pastries

spiced cranberry eton mess
dulce de leche éclair
apple tatin
dark chocolate & orange cube

Your Choice of Belloc Tea: assortments of black, oolong, green, matcha, white, and herbal teas

and a glass of Champagne.

Hervé Rafflin, Brut NV | 30
La Caravelle, Rosé Brut | 35
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Brut | 70

There is also a Seasonal Menu which has Caviar, soup, salads, quiche, Salmon, baked eggplant, lobster salad, duck terrine, pasta, black angus cheddar cheeseburger, brioche potato bun, french fries and an assortment of desserts.

Have I made you hungry yet? Well head to Tiffany’s for the perfect upscale holiday treat. Maybe, just maybe you’ll also be able to get some shopping in as well.

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