Tag Archives: NYC

Spring Blooms

farmersmkttulips

The weather was really lovely for walking around this weekend, which was perfect since we had guests visiting from out of town. We took full advantage of Saturday and spent the entire afternoon walking around the city, stopping only to graze on amazing food along the way (pizza, cupcakes, fried chicken… what didn’t we eat?).

We stopped by the Union Square farmers market, which is one of my favorite places to be during the spring and summer. You can easily make an afternoon out of browsing the amazing offerings from the local farms. There were a few stands selling cherry and plum branches that bloom with tiny pink flowers, and the tulips just screamed “spring”!

ranunculus_2013

I’m keeping fresh flowers in our apartment more frequently now — it just makes our space feel a little more fun when there is something nice to look at when we get home at the end of the day! Ranunculus is one of my favorite flowers, and I’ve had the bunch seen here for over a week already. As long as you change out their water and get rid of dead leaves, the buds will continue to bloom! What are your favorite spring blooms?

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Weathering the Storm

A peek into the (closed) entrance to Central Park at the end of my street

Well, it has certainly been an interesting few days here in New York City. Our public transportation has been out of commission since Sunday night, and the subways have just started running again today. Although cabin fever was starting to set in, I have to be thankful that our neighborhood was spared any terrible damage and we never lost our power. I have friends in other parts of the city who are moving temporarily into hotels while they wait for their electricity and water to be restored. And of course, seeing the horrific damage in parts of New Jersey and Queens is humbling — sometimes we forget how powerful Mother Nature is until something like this happens.

I’ve been working out of our apartment for the past few days, and really taking the opportunity to reset and take a deep breath. Sometimes the constant feeling that we have to be going somewhere or doing something is just too much stress to handle. Even though it’s annoying that I can’t just jump on a train and be somewhere else for a while, I’m enjoying the feeling of staying put, writing more, and having more time to prepare something good for dinner each night! I even bought a Cornish game hen to roast last night — more on how that panned out later!

Otherwise, I’ve passed the time not spent working by baking, revamping an old piece of furniture, and making some plans for our Thanksgiving dinner! Hope everyone made it through the storm safe and sound.

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Cookies for Breakfast!?

Now, I know what you’re thinking based on the title — but I promise you, this is WAY better than Cookie Crisp cereal could ever dream of being!

I first heard of Levain Bakery through a friend who was excited that they were opening a location in West Harlem, not far from where we both live. She raved about the cookies there, but I didn’t really think much of it. I make plenty of cookies at home, so I don’t typically go out of my way to buy them.

Then, almost a year later, my boyfriend and I are watching a show on The Cooking Channel and THERE THEY ARE! Levain cookies. But they aren’t just cookies… think of what you would get if a delicious chocolate chip cookie had a baby with a scone, and there you have a Levain cookie.

We personally like to eat these guys for breakfast (not every day, obviously). The outside of the cookies are crisp and slightly flaky like a scone, while the inside is soft and slightly undercooked like all of the best cookies that I’ve ever had. My favorite flavor is the chocolate chip walnut, which feels like a slightly refined version of a chocolate chip cookie. But there are other tempting and chocolate-y flavors as well, like double chocolate and chocolate peanut butter. On top of being absolutely delicious, I also have to give these guys major props for being really nice! We rolled out of bed early this past Sunday and took our loaner dog (we were pet sitting) up to the bakery to grab breakfast for ourselves and my parents who were staying with us. When we arrived at the bakery we discovered that it was still 20 minutes until they opened, but the nice people there took pity on us and let us come in to grab our cookies early so that we didn’t have to wait around!

One last thing — you might think that $4 is a bit pricey for one cookie, but rest assured that this thing EASILY feeds two people. We didn’t even finish three of them between four adults. Completely and totally worth it!

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Something Old, Something New {Friday}

I’ve been trying to think of a little feature that I could do on a weekly basis that would keep me thinking and writing. I think I’ve come up with a good one, and I’m going to attempt to implement it starting today! Each Friday, I’ll share two things that happened during my week: one “old” and one “new.” The Something Old could be anything from catching up with an old friend to making a classic family recipe for dinner — think the kind of “old” that gives you warm fuzzies, not back pain! My Something New will run the gamut from something new that I learned that week to a new place I’d never been to before. The point of all this is to end the week on a happy and optimistic note! So, here we go…

{Something Old}

I had the pleasure of getting together with one of my best friends from college early this week for a bottle of wine after work! M and I are both Francophiles, and you may remember that she and I ran around France together for a week last year. We met up at The Bourgeois Pig, a great little wine bar in the East Village that offers a superb 1/2 price bottle night on Monday and Tuesday. I always enjoy my time with M because she’s one of those people with a contagious laugh who is so easy to hang out with. Sometimes there is nothing better than spending a few hours with an old friend!

{Something New}

I tried a Barre method class at my gym for the first time — and hoooooo baby were my muscles burning afterward! The class I took is called vBarre, and it combines ballet methods which are done at the barre with some Pilates-esque moves. The toughest part was using the glide board, which is a slippery plastic board about the length of a yoga mat. It looked like so much fun in the videos I saw online, but it’s really hard to do at first! Once you get the hang of it, you can get going pretty fast. I’m definitely looking forward to my next class!

Happy weekend, everyone! What made you happy this week?

Top photo by arvindgrover via Flickr

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10 Reasons to Kiss and Make Up with NYC

A view of the city from the Empire State Building

Well, it had to happen sometime… it was just a matter of when. After more than 6 years of bliss, I’m having my first fight with New York City. We are just not getting along this week. I’m blaming it on the poor timing of terrible weather — back to back days of sweltering heat after spending a week up north with beautiful weather hasn’t exactly given me the chance to cool down (literally). It’s no secret that this city can be tough to live in. It keeps running at warp speed, whether you have the energy to keep up with it or not! In an attempt to kiss and make up, here is a list of great reasons why New York is totally worth it.

  1. The people. Endless types of people! If you can’t think of anything else to do in New York, you are guaranteed great people-watching — any day.
  2. The green spaces. As much as people may complain about the lack of nature on the grid, you can’t argue with the fact that it is pretty easy to get to a green space from pretty much anywhere in the city. I can practically roll out my front door and into Central Park, but there are plenty of smaller parks to chill out in too!
  3. The food. I don’t know if another place exists where food is not only so diverse, but so accessible all the time. Feel like eating Thai food for dinner and then French pastries for dessert? Chances are those two menu items are within walking distance of each other. Don’t even feel like leaving your apartment? Order it in.
  4. Free creative vibes! All it takes is a quick walk down the street to be inspired by something. You’ll always find an inspiring piece of street art, a crazy outfit, or a totally bizarre street performer to get your own creative gears turning.
  5. Easy day trips. Sometimes finding the balance while living in the city is leaving it once in a while. Two of my favorite day trips are to Governor’s Island (totally free!) and to Long Beach. If you need a (cheap) weekend getaway, buses leave frequently for Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Boston.

Magnolias at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

6. Amazing shopping. You don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money to get some really good shopping in, and the sales at boutiques and department stores are fantastic if you keep an eye out for them. I also love those stores that have quirky things you probably can’t find anywhere else in the country. Some of my favorites are Pearl River Market for cheap home goods, and Kiosk for the most random assortment of gadgets and gifts from all around the world.
7. The best public transportation. Even though commuters may complain about the subways and buses, you have to admit that our system is pretty darn good. It’s relatively inexpensive, runs all the time, and covers a lot of ground. All in all, I’m impressed
8. Easy to make friends. New York might not always be associated with the words “friendly” or “welcoming,” but if you want to make friends here, it isn’t too difficult. I know so many people (myself included!) who have made friends out of people who they met on a night out, in a Meetup group, on an intramural sports team, or through a language exchange website. If you have an interest, there is a good chance that someone else shares it and would love to have someone to share it with!
9. Easy to be alone. There are definitely days when you just want to tune out and be by yourself — a difficult task, one would think, in a city of more than 8 million people. But it’s really not. Pop in your headphones, head to your favorite park or neighborhood, and just get lost in the crowd. It’s easier than you think!
10. Being a New Yorker. For every time that someone has shoved past me on the sidewalk or let a door slam in my face, there are twice as many times that a total stranger has offered to help me with a heavy suitcase on the subway stairs or even held their umbrella over my head when I forgot mine at home as we crossed the street together (yes, this really happened and I have seen it happen to others as well!). These little mutual understandings of community are really what binds this city together, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

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July 9, 2012 · 6:00 am

10 Great (and Cheap!) Things to do in the Fall in NYC

Image via Flickr

Well, it has been a while! Sometimes life just moves too fast, and things like this blog tend to lapse. After what has been a very busy summer, I’m quite glad to wish everyone in this hemisphere a happy first day of Fall! I really love this time of year, and I especially enjoy it when we actually have that nice transitional time in the weather between summer and winter, as we’re having right now. Sometimes it can feel like summer and winter are the only two seasons we get in this part of the country. In honor of the new season upon us, I’ve compiled a list of ten great things to do in New York City in the next few months:

  • Grab a hot beverage and walk through Central Park with one of your favorite people to look at the leaves changing.
  • Rent a bike and take a ride! There are plenty of places to rent (rates usually start around $8/hour or $45/day) and the West Side Greenway is a protected bike path that runs the length of Manhattan along the Hudson River. Beautiful!
  • Miss the back-to-school feeling? Me too. Try signing up for a class through Brooklyn Brainery or Skillshare and get yourself some new knowledge about something cool! Classes are cheap (many under $20) and on cool subjects like screen printing and making your own shoes.
  • Camp out in the Union Square Barnes & Noble store and read up on a new subject or an existing passion!
  • Take a stroll through the farmers’ markets in the last few weeks before they close for winter and bring home some fresh fall veggies!
  • Arm yourself with cash and a few good Yelp recommendations, and hit the streets of Chinatown to sample delicious dishes, dumplings, and pastries.
  • Pretend you’re in Munich for the annual Oktoberfest (technically it ends in the first few days of October, but I won’t judge you if you celebrate for longer), and visit a bier garden, like the popular Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria or Bier International in Harlem.
  • Take a class in lattes — Joe the Art of Coffee offers classes every month on various coffee topics, including Milk Steaming 101.
  • Pick up a camera and go for a photo walk. That is, take notice of the cool everyday things you pass on the street and document them! Fall is a great time to do this, because the light at the end of the day is often shimmery and superb for taking photos.
  • Chilly weather getting to be too much? Head over the the newly-renovated Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Admission is only $12, and they have lots of interactive exhibits to check out!

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NYC Public Art: Flaming Cactus

Sometimes I think that New Yorkers are more amused by public art displays than the myriad of tourists you’ll find snapping pictures of them. I think that one of the most refreshing experiences is when you see something that has become routine to you in a different way — whether that means walking on the opposite side of the street than you normally do during your morning commute, or seeing something outrageous dropped into the middle of a neighborhood you frequent.

As you can imagine, I was utterly delighted when I rounded the corner off of Broadway on to East 8th Street and saw these lampposts festooned with neon colors. The exhibit is called “Flaming Cactus” and was installed by a group called ANIMUS Art. If you look closely, you’ll see that they are made up of what appear to be huge plastic zip-ties, but from far away they look like bizarre neon cacti! This definitely brought a smile to my face on an otherwise routine trip to Astor Place.

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