a girl’s gotta have goals

20060228_102_350x263_1Oprah is on.  Her best friend, Gayle King has revealed her new goal: eating what GQ Magazine named the "20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die."  I’ve certainly made goals involving food, but usually it involves what not to eat.  Maybe cook with more tofu, but I never need motivation when it comes to burgers.  Gayle asked each "hot listed" burger joint what makes their burger best.  "Fresh ground sirloin," each responds.  "Nothing is ever frozen."  The Counter, in Santa Monica, offers options.  You can choose your bun (English Muffin, Sesame Seed Bun, Toast, Onion Roll), vidallia onions, caramelized onions, red onion, cheese, types of meat.  I would take an hour to decide and probably get two drastically different burgers, eating a little more than half of each, then wrapping the rest to savor later.  Something old school then something gourmet.  I thought the only reason to ever hit New Haven, CT would be for Frank Pepe’s Pizza.   I thought wrong.  Now, I am obsessed with a road trip to New Haven for  Louis’s Lunch, where they cook their burgers sideways with onion, serve EM up on toast, and refuse to serve you condiments.  I’m bringing mayo with me. 

Never mind the burgers (I’ll probably have one tonight while at Frank’s Restaurant in the meatpacking district).  I can’t get past the fact that Gayle wears the same pinky ring as Oprah.  I now, and have for a very long time, want that ring, that diamond eternity band for your right pinky finger.  I want to buy myself one to remind myself of what I aspire to become.  I’ve worked hard and deserve it.  I want it, and each time I’d wear it, I’d feel proud.  It’s like the first thing I bought with my first real paycheck.  When I received my first full-time job paycheck, I went to Barney’s and bought a pair of brown chunky Freelance boots.  I bought the boots back in 1997.  They cost $300.  "How much did you spend?" my father yelled.
"It’s my money now, and it’s up to me how I spend it." 

I loved the freedom money brought and bought me.   My wanting the pinky eternity band has nothing to do with frivolity or money and everything to do with a goal, with reminding myself of my strength.  When I was first on my own, single again, in my new apartment, the symbol became my "K" chair, a symbol that I was Klein again.  Maybe I’ll buy myself the right-handed diamond ring when I reach a goal, like when I begin to earn royalties on my first book, or maybe the day my book comes out.  I still have my wedding band and original engagement ring.  I’ve been saving them to sell, to use the money for something meaningful to me.  I’ve held onto them hoping one day it would be revealed to me, the significance of the money and where it should go.   I never realized Oprah’s ring was a friendship ring.  That kind of changes everything.



  1. Money can`t buy you happiness but it gives you freedom. I love freedom. Every time I achieve something important I go out and buy myself something I`ve wanted for a long time because I`ve earned it. So have you.
    Have you thought about getting made a new ring from your old wedding band and engagement ring? It could be nice way to end one era and start new happier one

  2. Me again.
    I watched it too. But you know, with Oprah it's all BS. I know you hate to hear that, but the reason Gayle's goal was, of all things, hamburgers was because Oprah offended the beef industry years ago by saying she would never eat another hamburger again.This was part of making amends. With her it's all calculation and the most cynical brand of image-management. How does Gayle make a living, by the way? Does she work for Oprah?

  3. You had me at burger.

    Hmmm, I don't think I can really ever use anything with a bad connotation to acquire something for myself. For example, the WID gave me a gift card just before we broke up. I never could use it to purchase anything for myself. I always sort of felt like doing so would jinx it. I'm weird.

    Mmmmm, burger.

  4. Are we sure that that ring is a friendship ring?
    I only ask because Gayle tends to have and/or do a lot of the same things that Oprah does.
    I once saw them together and they had outfits, down to the shoes and haircuts, that looked exactly alike. But then again, they are BFFE, so maybe that just happened naturally, but I'd be interested to know if the rings were bought as a sign of friendship or because Gayle just liked Oprah's ring.

  5. my first 'reward to myself' was a cartier engagement band, just like yours but the panthers don't go all the way around. i had enough money to buy it at the age of 19. it was about $400.

    the thing is, my parents were so proud of me for saving money that they bought it for me … and i ended up putting the $400 in a savings account.

    that account, of course, is long gone ….

  6. ok I knew I had a COMPLETE girl crush on you..everything in this posr reminds me why…

    Burgers..do NOT get me started. Lets just say that starting tommorow, I am giving them up for Lent because its the one thing that I crave on a really weird, unhealthy, obbsessed, daily basis…(sad, i know)

    And, two…you'll get that ring and it will mean so much more than if any friend or man had gotten it for you.

    (just dont get mayo under it…it can get kinda tricky sneaking it around..)

  7. Louis Lunch claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger. It was founded by Louis Lassen in 1900 and it's still run by the family. The story goes that Louis Lassen, in making the steak sandwich, didn't want to waste the scraps, so he chopped them up and made them into patties, then cooked them up.

    I've lived in Connecticut all my life, and been to Pepe's (and Sally's) Pizza on the infamous Wooster Street several times, but never to Louis's. Toot the horn on the way by on 95, and I'll tag along.

    The ring you'll have to figure out yourself!

  8. If you ever get to Vegas, hit Hubert Keller's Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. You can choose your meat (sirloin, black angus, Kobe beef, lamb, veggie, turkey), then choose from about 10 breads and dozens of toppings including pesto, lobster, black truffles, seared foie gras..the list goes on forever. Or you can get one of the standard burgers, my favorite being the black angus with olive tapenade on ciabatta bread. You'll need dry underwear :)

  9. Wow, the right hand ring. Raise your right hand, etc. I always wondered whom those ads were aimed at.

  10. One of the best moments of finally being a professional was being at the counter of Tiffany's and buying a pair of earrings for myself. Well, that and buying a burger Donovan's in Bayside (one of the best burgers east of Manhattan).

  11. Stephanie, I was watching Oprah today too and I was very excited that the number one place, Le Tub, is less than 10 miles from me! Imagine my joy upon knowing that whenever I want I can go get the best burger in America! I cant wait to go, and when I do I will report back to you on how it was and if it lived up to expectations.

    Secondly, this is what I did with my old engagement ring when I could stand to look at it again. I sold the diamond and bought a heart shaped diamond to wear on a chain. As the hardest substance on earth it was my unbreakable heart. Then I put a sapphire in the setting and gave it to my sister as a gift and a reminder not to fall for the wrong guy. Looking back, selling it for a really great and decadent trip might have been a good idea too.

  12. Wow!

    I'm making my first trip to the LA area this weekend and it actually crossed my mind that I should check your archives for recommended eateries, since you've so often hit the nail on the head here in NYC. I literally just booked my hotel online for Santa Monica, surfed on over to your site, and up pops a nearby burger recommendation – so perfect! You've unintentionally saved a clueless New Yorker from bad LA burgers. Well done.

    No pun intended.

  13. Hi Stephanie:
    I watched that episode as well – didn't know the pinky ring is a friendship ring. I think you are very wise to wait until you know what to use the money for – what is meaningful to you. My girlfriend Margaret has Prize Levels. She sets different goals for herself, and rewards herself with a gift when she's reached it. Another wise friend said the way we spend money reflects our feelings about power. Hmmm. I'm still trying to figure that out. Thank you so much for your blog!
    V of F

  14. Steph-You'll love Louis's Lunch…and New Haven for that matter…we're in the midst of a mini urban renewal; new restaurants, bars, etc..Stop in at Pacifico 'round the corner from Louis' for mojitos……Also, take your camera, great architectural shots 'round Yale..

  15. The first part of that post made me incredibly hungry. I just flew back into NYC and somehow managed to go without food all day. (In part thanks to airlines no longer offering in-flight meals and my forgetting to grab cash for the "snack box.") Time to fix that.

    You deserve that ring. Look at all that you've accomplished. I think, buy it the day your book hits the shelves!

  16. If you are going to road trip it to CT, go the The Brewhouse in South Norwalk too, they marinate their burgers in lord knows what and serve it on yummy a pretzle roll. It is the most delicous burger I have ever had and because of the marinade it really doesn't need condiments (really). Louis Lunch was dissapointing burger wise, although definitely worth a trip for old school decor. I would advise you to bring the mayo, the burgers need a little dressing up in my opinion. It's kind of a grungy town but New Haven has gotten so many great restaurants in the past couple of years, if you need any rec's for your road trip let me know!

    Love the pinky ring idea!! I think it is such a great idea to buy something nice your yourself to celebrate accomplishments, it's very empowering. I've been eyeing sapphire ring hand rings for my next big promotion, I'm done waiting for the e-ring!!

  17. Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger! Greetings from Chicago! I love a great burger, and after that great workout at the gym, I read this. Thanks a lot, Stephanie. Just joshing.
    My friend and I recently had a conversation about the right hand ring. The I AM ME ring, by yourself a diamond because they are beautiful and you can ring. Go for it, you deserve it! By the way, the first thing I ever bought with my first paycheck was Lee Press On Nails, in Hot Pink. That WAS a secret I had planned on taking to the grave.

  18. Its quite obvious from the line out the door that Pepe's is well known- but I always love when I hear mention of it outside of my family hoping to plan it in when we're in New Haven/Hamden for family visits. Now I want Pepes…

  19. I have a pinky friendship ring, given to me by my best friend. It's dainty with tiny diamonds. I love it! But I don't wear it anymore. Every now & then I slip it on and look at it to remind myself of change and accepting change.

    Nice post. Really hit home for me….in a friendship way. Not that goals and burgers aren't important too :)

  20. If you do the road trip thing, drop me a line and I'll join you for a burger. I've heard so much about Louis's lunch and need to check it out myself! Did they tout that it's where the burger originated? That's what I've heard about it :)

  21. hell yes, girl! My freedom sign was the every other week manicure/massage/facial… buy the ring, it's good for the soul. Watching with great interest from here…be happy.

  22. Never mind the burgers? Aww man, I was just starting to drool over another Stephanie burger post. Oops, forgot I'm not supposed to address you as man or dude…

  23. I love the idea of it being a friendship ring. I need to believe people have that kind of sweetness in their lives.

  24. Diamond mining is one of the most unethical practices in the world today. The diamond business represents the exploitation of the poor black people of South Africa and companies like De Beers took advantage of the mechanisms of Apartheid to build their fortunes. It's common knowledge that the diamond industry is dirty, shame on Oprah for buying into it. It would be nice if you could think of something else to buy yourself.

  25. I have my eyes on a few rings I intend to treat myself with one of them when I reach a very certain goal. Only problem, is I still don't know which one or how I will fund it! Right now all the $$s are going into the goal. haha. But I agree. There is something rewarding in that to let it serve as a reminder of something special for only you!

  26. I don't agree amanda b. Maybe it's all a result of an ad campaign that single, empowered women have been finally given the go-ahead to wear diamonds without a stigma. But the stigma that diamonds are only for marriage needed to be lifted. For years, I have worn a platinum with 5-diamond band on my right hand. I have never felt marriage was a "have-to" in my life, so I wasn't about to let this beautiful ring I inherited sit in a jewelry box until the day that may or may not come that I could use it as my wedding band. 10 years later, I still wear it, still single – but it's only in the past few years that men no longer mistake me to be married or engaged and comment on it.
    Bottom line is, we, as women, don't have to validate ourselves through gifts from a significant other! We don't have to wait for someone to bring us flowers – we can plant our own gardens. I do agree it doesn't have to be a diamond – but why should the diamond be reserved for marriage? As long as it symbolizes something significant to you whether you buy it for yourself or do something wonderful for another – that's what counts!

  27. Oh jeez, stranded 300 miles away from pepes and you have to go and remind me… Is it worth the five hour drive? I'll have to consider it–I have a day off today.

  28. Sundry-I wonder what would happen if the lined up 8 'name' bugers, then threw in one from McCanns and one from Fudruckers, all prepared alike. I'd bet a lot of people wouldn't even notice the difference.

    I kind of agree with April on the diamonds, it's a bad business. But I happen to know that gold mining is an environmental disaster, particularly in poor countries. And I would bet that most of the valuable metal mining is as well. So do we not buy anything?

    Oprah/Gayle? Maybe, but who cares?

    Women buying trinkets to celebrate their self-empowerment and freedom? Am I alone in thinking that this is buying into a stereotype? I understand that it's important to reward yourself, but I'm thinking that maybe I'd advise my daughter to buy into a business or a stock portfolio rather than buy jewelry. Too much killjoy?

  29. That diamond pinky ring was given to Oprah as a gift from Qunicy Jones (she discussed on a past show). As for Gayle's ring I haven't a clue.

  30. I bought myself an eternity ring when I turned 25. it had 25 diamonds, and cost me two month's rent. i loved what it symbolized, a ring for me, for my 25th.

    when I moved home from colorado, i accidentally threw it in the garbage. I didn't realize until hours later, driving across the state line.

    I'm still not over it!!

  31. You know, I tuned into Oprah just as I got home, and who was there? That Rachel Ray lady going over some recipe.

    I only hung in because I desperately wanted her to say "E.V.O.O.", but damn it all anyway, there was no E.V.O.O. in her recipe.

  32. No, Joey B, diamonds are different. Not only was the De Beers cartel built on the backs of those marginalized by apartheid, but De Beers was responsible in large part for the civil wars that ravaged African countries in the 1990's. De Beers still buys up "conflict diamonds" in order to maintain its market share.
    Until recently, you could be pretty damn sure that the diamond on your hand probably had its origins in some bloody conflict. Do you really want a stone like that to symbolize your love, friendship, etc.?
    I know you all hate me or whatevers but this is serious. I don't think Stephanie should NOT buy a diamond (well, I do) but if you are going to buy one, Stephanie, PLEASE, PLEASE insist that it be conflict-free.
    Thank you.

  33. I must be way out of it, because I don't know about these "pinky friendship rings." I like the idea of wearing a ring that a close friend has given me. I have a beautiful silver ring from my sister in law/really good friend that I love.

    But I'm wary of the "raise your right hand"/"buy yourself a diamond, you deserve it you empowered woman, you" thing, the same way I'm wary of the three-stone anniversary band/pendant ("for your past, present, and future") thing. They're marketing campaigns, folks. A group of marketing executives sat in a room and said, "We need to get people to see diamonds as more than just for engagement rings. And, we need to get people to make repeat diamond purchases instead of just the one (for the engagement ring)." Every diamond commercial out there right now does the same thing – identifies for us a new opportunity to buy a diamond. And it looks like people are buying into it (literally).

    I don't know. Yeah, I guess it's nice to buy yourself something great that reminds you of your accomplishments. Just don't make it a diamond. Do something different. Better yet, take your money and buy something beautiful for someone else. That's the ultimate indication of personal success. Just my two cents.

  34. If you like burgers so much, you have to try this recipe: http://www.phantomgourmet.com/ShowPage.aspx?content=Recipe&id=1120. It's from Boston's Phantom Gourmet food critic show that airs on Sunday mornings (my favorite). These burgers are to die for. You can even eat the onion-raisin mixture with a fork afterwards, even better!

    I don't even remember what I bought with my first real paycheck. Don't buy the ring, you might lose it. Use the money for something more meaningful and forever.

  35. In addition to the other ladies, please don't wear gold… The NYTimes had a series on the process of gold mining and how destructive it is to the environment, maybe back in December of November. The mining companies go into 3rd world regions and practice a type of mining where all the dirt is put in a big pile and then cyanide is poured on top because it extracts the metal. Almost all gold is mined this way. Cyanide is supposed to degrade with exposure to sun, but the problem is these big heaps of dirt leak from the bottom (even though they're supposed to be lined) and poison the water and soil, so the poor farmers in the region have many problems. The chemicals are very dangerous and last for decades, -much longer the mining companies will be there since the available gold is extracted in a matter of years, leaving the damage for the 3rd world to take care of.

    Platinum is a much better choice. The US and India are the largest consumers of gold in the world.

  36. you totally deserve to reward yourself with something sparkly. don't wait. do it now. i am big into rewards and i never stave them off. maybe that's not so good all the time, but whatever, i deserve it. heehee.

  37. I married at 22 and avoided diamonds on my wedding band for the reasons others have mentioned. At 32, guess what happened? I really wanted a diamond. REALLY wanted. Fortunately for me (and my conscience), I inherited a very old diamond ring set from my great aunt at the same time my desire for diamonds sprouted, thus saving the expense and moral quandary of making a decision to buy one myself.

    Separately, Noisette – I think you provide a valuable counterbalance to many of the comments. I appreciate and enjoy reading the reactions of everyone who reads this blog.

  38. I forgot to give you shiite for wasting your time drinking Shiraz.. what is with the newbie wine drinkers thinking that Shiraz is "all that" ? OK, for the last time.. France has great wine – super cheap.. as does Italy.. stick to those that know..

  39. everyone has to face the horrific, devastating, earth-destructing (book-world destructing) soul-crushing, and yet painfully obvious fact that Gayle is Oprah's lover for many many many many many years now and Steadman is her Al Reynolds. Let's get on with it already. Oprah is such the poser- come OUT already!!! GAWD

    fraud fraud
    love you stephanie though- just had to put this in there. there is far too much love for Oprah in this country.

  40. ok, I need to remember politically correct gifting…

    Gift of gold…bad. Gift of diamond…bad Gift of shiraz…bad. How about a Kevin Costner dvd?

  41. eh… these rings look pretty cheesy to me. you're already going to have a nice wedding band, and i assume you have a great engagement ring — why muck it all up? buy a nice handbag or something.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.