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I’m back from my summer trip to Maine, and boy what an incredible trip it was. Maine is a stunningly beautiful place, and I think it gives California (the best state in all the land) a decent run for it’s money in terms of natural landscape. I spent time in Portland, then drove up the coast to Bar Harbor to spend a few nights in Acadia National Park. It was a trip filled with biking, hiking, rock climbing, walking, beaches, lakes, forests and fantastic food. Normally when I go on vacation, I plan outfits, jewelry, and I try to look my best. This trip, I spend 90% of the time in workout clothes/comfy clothes and enjoyed being active the whole time. It was wonderfully rejuvenating and the best escape from New York City.

Obviously, I took pictures like a madwoman (I feel for people who have to take trips with me…). The photos above are from my phone, half of which I posted on Instagram already, and I have a slew of photos to go through and edit from my regular camera. Hopefully those photos will turn into a personal project I’ve been plotting in my head for a few weeks. Happy Monday and have a fantastic week!

 

 

 

These photographs of Poznan, Poland are lovely. I had never heard of Poznan before I came across these photos, and now it’s on my list of places to visit in the future. They were taken by Radostina Boseva and I found them on the site, Entouriste, which has a fantastic collection of photographs from places all over the world. Visit the site and let your wanderlust take over.

 

 

Normally when I want to get out of the city and be surrounded by something besides yelling cabbies and tall buildings, I head to Central Park. Then I heard that Brooklyn had a beautiful botanical garden, and I was there in a jiffy. Nick described it as a “Disneyland for people who love plants”, but you don’t really have to be obsessed with plants and flowers to appreciate all the amazingness that is the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Located in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the garden has a bunch of rooms and greenhouses that house a variety of plants you would see in various climates (tropical, Mediterranean, desert, etc.), so there’s an amazing amount of variety. There are also acres  (52 exactly) of rolling hills, trees, curated gardens, ponds, walking paths, and lush grass. I remember lying in the grass under some trees and falling asleep almost immediately because the space was so calming and peaceful. We went towards the end of spring, so the tulips from the photos above were in full bloom. I’m sure the summer season at BBG is just as incredible and I highly recommend it (just wait for this disgusting heat wave to be over…).

 

I went to Boston this past weekend to visit friends and, you know, be super American. I had never been to Boston before, and it sure is a cool city. There is wonderful architecture everywhere, and I loved the red brick that seemed to be on every other building. Also, Boston is so CLEAN! I’m always impressed when big cities are clean—espeically coming from New York.

We managed to do a variety of stuff including walk the entire Freedom trail. People we spoke to afterwards were impressed because apparently a lot of people get sidetracked on the trail and end up sneaking into a bar. I can’t say we weren’t tempted. I think we deserve an extra pat on the back because we did the entire trail on the hottest day of the year. Crazy or impressive? You be the judge… We met a talkative ice cream man near the end of the trail (and obviously bought big Rocket Popsicles and Ninja Turtle ice cream that had gum balls for eyes), and he was telling us stories about Charlestown and how much of the the movie, The Town, was totally true. He grew up knowing a lot of people who robbed banks and some of his friends are still doing jail time for it. Cray.

We also visited the Boston Public Library (my favorite part of the trip), went to the Sam Adams Brewery (free tastings!), and went to Cambridge and Harvard (don’t kill me, but I was slightly underwhelmed by the campus). There was, of course, a lot of eating, music, drinking and laugher sprinkled in. Yay for Boston and yay for surviving the heat.

 

I’ve been waiting to see the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington D.C. since I moved to the East Coast. My college roommate lives in D.C. and has been telling me since she moved there that I would be obsessed with the whole spectacle. But for the past 3 years, I’ve missed them for various reasons.

Catching the blossoms is a tricky thing. It’s extremely hard to predict when they are going to bloom until a week or two before, so planning a trip in advance is nearly impossible. On top of that, peak bloom (when 70 percent of the trees have blossoms on them) only lasts for a few days. If you go too early, the blossoms are merely buds on winter branches and if you go too late, the light pink blossoms start morphing into green leaves.

I was 100% determined to go this year and it was peak bloom or bust. I monitored the cherry blossoms so closely and became so knowledgeable about these little buggers that I’m confident I’m now a good candidates for any open D.C. park ranger position. Seriously. I could give a lecture about cherry blossoms. As soon as the blossoms hit their peak bloom, Nick and I jumped on a bus for a fun weekend in D.C.

 

 

It’s an understatement describing the cherry blossoms as absolutely breathtaking. The entire National Mall and Tidal Basin were lined with trees covered in light pink and white blossoms. It was hard to believe that the scene before my eyes wasn’t fake. The trees were so dense in certain areas, that if we lay under those trees, we could only see small pockets of sky between the blossom covered branches.

 

 

Then, the wind began to pick up and started blowing the delicate blossoms off their trees. Thats when the magic really started to happen. We were surrounded by soft petals swirling and falling all around us. A lot of the petals got blown into the Tidal Basin, covering the water like a carpet. I felt like I was on a movie set. Or in a snow globe. Or in a song and dance sequence of a Bollywood movie where the entire dance takes place in a snow globe.  It was pretty damn incredible.

 


We stayed at the National Mall until the sun set and until it was too dark to take any more photos. I came to D.C with the hopes of crossing an item off my bucket list. Instead, all I did was replace “see the cherry blossoms in D.C.” with “see the cherry blossoms in Japan”. My mind can’t even begin to fathom what the blossoms must look like in their native country if they looked like this in Washington. I highly recommend everyone making the spring trip to see the cherry blossoms. Stalk them if you have to. Who knows, if my design career doesn’t work out, you just may see me giving tours at the National Mall…

This is a long one… Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few weekends ago, my best pal and her hubby came into town and we spent the day eating, drinking, and shopping in various Brooklyn neighborhoods. Here is the best of where we went:

Roberta’s—This place needs very little introduction, but it’s some of my favorite pizza in New York. The wait is a bit of a doozy, but I promise it’s worth it. There’s a great vibe inside and I’ve throughly enjoyed the pizza every single time I’ve been there. Highlights for me include their Romaine salad, the Bee Sting pizza (I get it without the sopressata), and the good ole’ Margherita. This time we got the house-made english muffin and it’s AMAZING.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds— After we ate at Roberta’s, we took the G train down to the Gowanus/Park Slope area to visit Four & Twenty Blackbirds, a wonderful little pie shop in Gowanus. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but the pies were delicious. We got the Salted Caramel Apple and the Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pies. Special shout out to the Pecan Pie—it was to die for.

Swallow— We walked up to Smith Street and immediately stumbled into Swallow. This place is filled to the brim with trinkets, dinnerware, vases, home goods, jewelry, and pretty little treasures. Swallow has a vintage, earthy, and rich vibe to it. A lot of the pieces were made with colorful rocks and crystals—super pretty! I especially loved all the different vases and vessels. I kept walking through the store imagining setting my entire dining table with pieces from here.

Atmosphere— A few doors down from Swallow, Atmosphere is a home goods and gifts store that combines vintage and modern styles perfectly. They have a wonderful collection of rugs, pillows, jewelry, dinnerware, and bath products. Once I have a place of my own, I’m going to fill my bathroom with fancy, wonderfully packaged bath products. My favorite item in the store were these wooden hot air balloons that came in tons of colors. I can imagine a few of them hanging off the ceiling of a child’s bedroom and looking wonderfully whimsical.

Lanie Lynn Popup Shop— We randomly stumbled upon this popup shop and went in because they were passing out free champagne. Once we got there, we were greeted by a wonderful collection of vintage and original jewelry by artist and owner, Elena Schelich. She has a great eye for statement pieces when it comes to curating her vintage selection. My friend got herself a great brass ring, an orignal by Elena, and I treated myself to some fun gold and white vintage earnings.

Clover Club— After we got tired of walking, we headed over to the Clover Club. This place is the bee’s knees. It’s a wonderful cocktail bar filled with dark wood, great music, and fantastic drinks. It feels like it’s been there forever and served drinks to patrons in the 20′s. A lot of times cocktail bars feel like they are trying too hard, but this place just feels right. Their namesake drink, Clover Club, is delicious. Tip: Try to sit in the back room if there is no private event going on. We somehow managed to score seats near the fireplace, and it was a fantastic place to have conversation.

Let me know if you have checked out any of these places or know of more gems in Bushwick and Carroll Gardens. I’m sure we missed tons, and I can’t wait to go back to discover more. Explore on, friends, explore on!

 

A few weeks ago, I actually woke up early enough on a weekend to make it to a nice, sit down breakfast. Normally my weekend breakfasts are eaten at home, and if I want to go out, by the time I leave my apartment, it becomes brunch time. Nick and I decided to go to breakfast at Maialino, the restaurant that sits under the Gramercy Park Hotel (I know, fancy schmancy!). We technically still ate off their weekend brunch menu, but I like saying I went to breakfast because it was early.

The food was fantastic. The breakfast started out with a nice basket of rolls and salted butter. We got their Cacio e Pepe and Ricotta Pancakes—both were fantastic, but I especially loved the Ricotta Pancakes. Almost as important as the food, the ambiance at Maialino is great too—lots of light, a great bar area, quaint tables, and a relaxed vibe. It seemed to me that most people sitting there in the morning were local folks that like to start their morning with a pastry, coffe, and a newspaper. Towards the end of our meal, it started getting busy and people had to wait for tables. It’s a little on the pricy side for just a normal breakfast, but if you are looking for something special, I highly suggest Maialino. I’ll definitely be back to check out their dinner.

 

 

These days I’ve got vacation on the brain. I’m desperately in need of an escape to explore a new place. My current schedule doesn’t allow for a big international trip, so I’m scouting out somewhere to go that’s on the East Coast. I’ve always been charmed by New England and want to take advantage of the fact that there is so much on the East Coast that is close to me. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been, and possibly off the beaten track, so cities like DC, Boston, and Philly are out. I’ve done a little research and talked to a few friends who have been around the area, and places that are high on the list right now include: Maine, Martha’s Vineyard, New Hampshire, and Montréal. I’m aware Montréal isn’t exactly the East Coast, but it’s pretty close by and I’ve always wanted to go there. Plus I’ve read that the train ride from New York to Montréal is one of the more beautiful train rides in the world. I also haven’t narrowed down where in Maine or New Hampshire I’d want to go—I just know they are beautiful states.

I want to turn it over to you guys and see if you had any advice about where I could take a 4 day mini spring vacation that is in (or semi-close to) the New England area. I’m sure some of you are far more familiar with this area than I am. I appreciate all the help—Happy Wednesday!

 

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The moment I walked into skinnyskinny in Willamsburg, my heart skipped a beat. I felt like someone had called me back home. No really, I’m only half joking—I love this place.

skinnyskinny is an eclectic boutique that carries an organic skin care line, plants, gifts, books and cards for all occasions. I’m a big proponent of natural beauty products and I love discovering new brands who are doing the natural beauty thang. I came across skinnyskinny a year ago and I recently found their storefront. My favorite products are the body butter and dry shampoo. The dry shampoo, especially, is a god send. It’s totally natural, smells amazing, and my hair thanks me profusely for only washing it a couple times a week. The skincare line includes body scrubs, soaps, lip balm and heavenly smelling candles. There is even a small section with natural makeup and nail polish. skinnyskinny is half-filled with beauty products and half-filled with other fun goodies. A whole corner of the store is dedicdated to succulents, house plants, air plants and terrariums (a massive plus in my book). They also have a wonderful collection of books and other knickknacks that would make great gifts. If you are ever looking to green up your beauty routine, looking for a gift, in the mood for making a terrarium, or just want to indulge, I highly recommend skinnyskinny.

 

 

I’m starting a new column in these parts of the internet called “Noteworthy in New York” where I want to share new places I discover and love in New York. Think of it as my own mini city guide and ode to NYC. I’m lucky to be surrounded by friends who love discovering the gems in this city with me, so I want to share that with with everyone who already lives here or people coming to visit.

Here are some places I ventured to recently that are noteworthy to me:

Xixa: This place is FANTASTIC for dinner. It’s new the sister restaurent to one of my favorite places in Brooklyn, Traif. Xixa serves modern Mexican cuisine and the food is extremely creative and full of flavor (Think: Elote corn off the cob in Tom Yum broth). It was impossible to decide what we wanted so we did the very reasonably priced tasting menu. I’ve never been to a place where we wanted them to stop bringing out dishes because there was too much food. Dish after dish was brought out and we couldn’t stop eating because it was all so good.

Lido: A wonderful place for bunch in Harlem. It’s extremely lively and cozy inside and they have bottomless mimosas that are actually bottomless (well, until 3:30). The service was pretty top notch too. New York is a pretty diverse place, but it was so diverse in here I felt like I was in a United Colors of Benetton ad.

*Extra tip: If you don’t get dessert here, go to the famous Levain Bakery across the street for the most wonderful chocolate chip cookie ever.

After brunch we wanted to explore Harlem some more so we hit up a few bars including—

Bier International: They have a great beer selection with beers from around the world and a nice vibe inside. I had the mulled wine and it was spiced perfectly. Bonus points: They even have a gluten free beer.

I hope you all enjoy this column and it proves to be useful for all current and future NYC’ers!