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What you REALLY Need When Expecting…

My Squad…

What you REALLY Need when you are Expecting a Baby, according to me, The Bourne Explorer. A mother.

The majority of my Besties are presently baby bumping and I have been asked a number of times and (recently by my badass pal, Jess Davidoff, who is due in September), what Moms to be actually need. I have told my other friends who were expecting, “Fuck the Baby Books and Blogs, they are all bullshit”. All you need is your tit and a carrier. 😉

Granted that is a slight exaggeration. But not by much…

I was sent baby spreadsheets of list of gadgets, special clothing, spaceship rockers that take up half your apartment living room, and crap for the beach that are just dust collectors.  I instantly had a case of terrets. And, frankly the excess just adds anxiety that soon to be moms definitely don’t need.

Below is a Simple and Non Stressful List; And I believe is all that you need to have, when you leave the hospital:
BE Baby List:
1) A sling wrap for when your baby is super small.  www.boba.com
2) Ergo 360 carrier, I would leave for the whole day and transport Sunny from the carrier, to the stroller, to my arms all day. www.ergo.com
3) Uppababy Vista stroller, Mesa Infant Car seat, we used the car seat as the stroller attachment while Sunny was small. Uppababy is great for city streets, plus the large under carriage is necessary for all your apparatus. I would go food shopping, pack an umbrella, store her diaper bag, and shop, for things throughout the day. www.uppababy.com
4) Breastfeeding Pillow https://www.boppy.com
5) Dr. Brown Bottles, We tried every brand and this was our favorite www.drbrownsbaby.com
6) I did part breast feeding, part formula, but I would only use Hole or Hipp formula from Germany. They don’t sell in stores or on Amazon. Organic Munckin sells the product and they have amazing customer service. (Tell them The Bourne Explorer sent you for an extra discount).
7) Baby seat bouncer
8) An array of blankets and burp clothes for wrapping, swaddling, and light protection www.adenandanais.com were my favorite. Organic cotton and super cute patterns!
9) Bath Towels with hoodies (these are the cutest photos when you wrap them in a towel with a cow hood after a bath)
10) Diapers, rash ointment, dekor diaper pale and liners, diaper bag: It seems like everyone swears by their diaper bag. I searched for a while for something I liked rocking and that was practical. I ended up buying a gray and orange sling bag from Amazon. But, later started using a Marc Jacobs backpack my friend Drew got me for my birthday. A backpack with lots of pockets is the best choice, as it allows you to be arm free and balanced.  Plus, some days you can just take the backpack and the carrier with no stroller.
11) Baby Moniter. We registered for a pricy monitor my friend raved about. It was hard to use and was not our favorite. But regardless, find a monitor that is easy to use and has both sound and camera features.
12) Bassinet and Crib: We ordered the bassinet from Uppababy but Sunny never fancied it. However, other parents keep their babies in it for months. We were fortunate that my father-in-law built us a hand made cherry crib but many people I know bought cribs from Restoration Hardware and BuyBuy BABY.
13) Activity Mats or Gym Mats are a necessity! I call it a second nanny. They stimulate the baby with the music melodies, and aid in multi-senory exploration. Your nugget will learn to turn and do tummy time on it. And, gym mats do not take up a lot of room.

Multi tasking in the bouncy chair…

Rocking the Ergo in Dumbo…

UppaBaby Infant Car seat

Four Generations of GirlBoss Ladies… 😉

My Bunny


My man…


I hope this helps, and makes the beginning of one of the best phases of your life; just about that. Please share your new mama stories and precious photos with the BE team!



Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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My Culinary “Meet Cutes”

Hamburger and Fries

A “Meet Cute” is typically referred to a film moment in which a romantic couple meets for the first time…

But as a food and restaurant buff, and a person who respects the ritual of Solo Dining, opting for the bar seat over the table seat 9 times out of 10, I have experienced my share of Culinary Meet Cutes.

Sans the romantic aspect, except that I did meet my husband in a west village restaurant bar, and it was an epically serendipitous NYC moment, that is for another time, and another blog 😉

For two decades in New York City and beyond, I have struck up some of the most engaging discussions and debates, spiritual breakthroughs, casual food and mixology education, and was invited into hundreds of remarkable people’s lives even if it was simply for an evening encounter.

Is this the explorer in me, or just the social situations I expose myself to? Well, I have been talking to random people since I can remember. And, I can admit I am an ease-dropper, skilled chatter, and a pretty good listener; which is often fuel for quality chit-chat or one who enjoys perching at restaurant bars…

I have had hundreds of these Culinary Meet Cutes at airport bars to my random passengers sitting next to me on the flight. I have been invited into their home for cocktails in Beverly Hills to tea in Kyoto. I have laughed and cried, and been a shoulder for a stranger. I have shared my appetizer, and have been passed an extra fork for theirs. I have treated and have been treated. I have made friends with a 21 year old boy and a 92 year old woman, named Ester Lester. My Meet Cutes have stirred up business deals and business debates, pen pal friends, and character development for my upcoming screenplay. People who have changed my perspective on life, marriage, and motherhood. I am forever grateful for this characteristic, and I believe that I inherited it from my late mom-mom and my muse. The art of fostering genuine discussion, and the gift of being an expert schmoozer.


Dirty Martini



NYC Eats

NYC Negroni Nights


Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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Simple Grilling: How to Stay Chill this Season

One of my city living goals— To have private outdoor space, be able to dine al fresco on the reg., and become a grill master.

Well, it is kinda happening. We have a pretty spectacular backyard, we purchased the Green Egg grill, and since we have moved in, I have been eating outside most evenings (dreams do come true).

Grilling, and summer entertaining should be kept relaxed, organized and casual…

And, here are a few helpful tips to ensure it does:


There is definitely a science to killing it at the farmers market. I am upping my FM game now that I have a year round market outside my home every Saturday.

  • Bag It: Remember to bring larger bags, baskets or even a granny cart. Attempting to juggle multiple plastic bags strung around your fingers make shopping stressful. So, grab your favorite bag(s) to pack up purchases carefully and environmentally responsible.
  • Bring cash. It makes the process more enjoyable… Head to the ATM before you go and hold your money in one pocket for easy access. Now, many Farmer’s Markets are providing tokens that you can purchase with a credit card to use while you shop. www.grownyc.com
  • Take a spin: I always take a walk through and assess what I want and who I want it from. If you identify the farmers and products you fancy on the first walk through then you won’t miss or purchase the wrong strawberry, loaf of bread, or peonies.


Before you even think to turn on that grill; get your ingredients “put in place.” whether it is husking corn, marinating some chops, or wedging some peppers, get organized. Please!

  • Have a tray or sturdy vessel to transport your ingredients you prepped to the grill.
  • Jot down a quick list what needs be done before you pick up a knife.
  • Have the proper vessels, mixing bowls, and serving ware to show off your food credo.


My overall life would be much more seamless if I stuck to this philosophy, but at least I live by this when it comes to grilling…

Think opposite of holiday meals. Select one or two proteins or main highlights, a starchy vegetable and some bright vegetables for a basic but delightful summer spread.


When I close my eyes and anticipate cooking in the summer, I think pops of bright color, peppered with char marks and local surprises… Choose from seasonal veggies and fruits, & easy grilling meats and sturdy fish. Everything tastes better on the grill; so load up on colorful produce and eat clean.


Isn’t that the theme of summer? Slaving in the kitchen is not for the balmy or breezing weather. Summer cooking should be done around friends, executed in minimal clothes, with tasty cocktails in hand.

***tip: Ignite the grill, take a deep breath, then start cooking!


Leave the elongated shopping lists & complex braising for the winter. If you purchase quality cuts of meat, fish and veggies there is no need to complicate things. Think salt, pepper, good oils, and quick rubs.


It is a funny thing what you remember. When I was in 4th grade I read in a book, if you come across a wolf or bear, keep still and your eyes at a neutral state; too wide they will think you are scared, too squinted they will think you are mean and, might attack. I also memorized the Walt Wittman poem, “Oh Captain, My Captain” in sixth grade and recite it whenever I have too much to drink. lol.

When I was working on, Worst Cooks in America, and B. Flay was the host, I distinctly remember him pressing this point before an afternoon challenge…

“Give love to everything on the plate. Each ingredient needs to be thought about and cared for.”

Well, it stuck with me. And I am a better cook for it. No matter what you are preparing, give it attention. Even if it is simple, and in this case we are discussing simple grilling tactics, season and prep it. Prime example: Grilled asparagus–dont forget the oil, S & P, lemon, and zest…

Hope this was a tad helpful. Happy Grilling and keep me posted on your summer celebrations 😉





Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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A Love Affair with Dumbo…

How Woody Allen spoke about Manhattan as his town, Dumbo was my spot, my neighborhood.

We crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge in early 2010 and made Dumbo our home…We witnessed one of the most dynamic neighborhood transformations in New York history, going from a small stretch of real estate where cabs were skeptical to drop you off to a dining and tourist destination. The move was my catalyst to explore the borough of Brooklyn.

As a natural “interviewer” and professional schmoozer, I got to know all the business owners and workers in Dumbo, from the butcher at Foragers Market to the ladies at Trunk. I fell deeply in love with yoga again at Abhaya Yoga Brooklyn and even had Siri, a teacher as one of my officiants at our wedding.

I have a thing for ferries, so when East River Ferry launched, I was one of the first passengers taking day jaunts to Williamsburg, Green point or Governor’s Island… presently taken over by the New York Ferry and is equivalent to a MTA subway spot. Although the secret is out, I still recommend a ferry ride to anyone visiting or living in NYC.

Our street is one of the most photographed in the world, and it still rocks me with beauty even if I sometimes feel like a tour guide directing people to the bridge entrance or Grimaldi’s.

So much has happened in this chapter while living here—we got Milo; my first dog, my first baby. We got hitched. We had a beautiful girl named Sunny. I attended culinary school and my doormen ate like kings for 6 months, entertained a lot, made amazing friends and lost a few along the way, worked at the Food Network and seeded some innovative projects I am proud of and a few shitty ones too.

We moved to Fort Greene a few days ago. As an explorer to the core, I have fallen in love with NYC all over again, with a fresh perspective to discover a neighborhood’s charm and nuances. I have already begun weaving the streets, seeking out hidden gems, & ducking into eateries and cocktail bars where I can surprise my palate.

But the most rewarding part, is chatting and listening to the stories of the interesting pioneers I meet along the way. And, a big part of why I started this blog in the first place. I hope you will follow along for the next chapter of the Bourne Explorer adventures. I have a feeling this one is going to be extra fun!


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Blush Your Summer: BE Rosé Guide, Part 2


We are back with three more Rosé wines for you to add to your summer repertoire…


Tifeo, Etna 2015  Rosato, Gambino

I was recently visiting my family in Cape Cod. My parents took a spring holiday to Sicily and sent back a case of wine from the Gambino producers. I am from a family of real “winos” so we are often uncorking wines mid-afternoon into the evening during the summer. The Tifeo Etna Rosato has a really lovely and unique flavor profile.


Grape, Sangiovese  $18.00

  • Appearance: Fresh delicate colors with a hint of copper
  • Nose: Summer red fruits of strawberry and watermelon along with the volcanic undertones
  • Palate: Fresh and earthy; dry and crisp with a well balanced acidic finish
  • Food pairing: Great for light bites or a summer picnic. We actually drank it beside everything from fish tacos, a variety of summer salads and charcuterie spreads. And simply alone..


Escudo Real, Vinho Verde

I have been a fan of Astor Wines & Spirits  for years. When I was the Director of Business Development and Sales at Serena Bass Inc., we used to order all of our wines and spirits for our private events from Astor. I love browsing in the store and I always end up “wine chatting” with one of the very approachable and knowledgable staff members.

In the beginning of the summer, I was placing an order and struck up a conversation with a staff member about my Bourne Explorer- Rosé blog idea. She recommended that I try this bottle… Along with her enthusiasm, It is a very reasonably priced bottle and I love learning and sampling wines from Portugal.


Grape,  Touriga Nacional & Espadeiro   Under $10.00

  • Appearance: Summer bright pink 
  • Nose: Elegant while showcasing a fruity and juicy punch
  • Palate: An explosion of tart strawberry sherbet, raspberry, and watermelon sorbet sprinkled with sea salt. A spritz of effervescence, followed by a long finish, pronouncing a well-balanced acidity
  • Food pairing: Because of its big rounded burst of flavor, it marries well with smoky, salty ingredients; prosciutto, bluefish dips and smoked mackerel, aged cheddar and Manchego cheeses and bright lemony desserts


Domaine Vico 2016

I often root for the “non typical, the road less traveled or easier said, the underdog”… Producing wine, let alone celebrated wine, on a small island off of mainland France located in the Mediterranean Sea– with the unpredictable weather patterns deserves a shout out. Domaine Vico is the only vineyard/winery located in the interior of the island of Corsica. These wines are elegant and age well.


Grape, Nieullucciu and Sciaccarellu   $17.99 

  • Appearance: Pale blush and hints of copper
  • Nose:  bright aromas of red fruit
  • Palate: Refreshing red fruits are laced with a touch of orange peel and spice. It holds a nice balance of being both rich and crisp. Juicy palate, with a hint of salinity
  • Food pairing: Perfect with seafood, roasted brick chicken, rustic pastas and cheese & mixed Italian olives. 

Hope you are having a lovely Summer filled with eating, drinking and entertaining.  We will be back for our final Rosé recommendations in late August 😉


Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)

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