Tramways, Breweries, Rattlesnakes and More in Albuquerque

Hi friends,

So these past few days have been a whirlwind, but I wanted to try to get stuff down as it’s happening, so I’ll do my best to get through this post (even though my eyes are drooping as I type — so please forgive any typos!). The good people at the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau so kindly invited me out to New Mexico for a press trip, which of course I happily accepted. I flew out early Monday morning and arrived around 5 p.m. Monday evening.

And I’ve been on the go ever since.

So of course I have about 1,000 photos to share, and I figured the best way to go about this (at least the first two-days’ worth) is to explain via photo what I’ve done so far on my trip. For starters, I’m staying at Hotel Andaluz, which is located conveniently in downtown Albuquerque and is so stunningly modern and wonderful I can’t stand it. I’ll be having dinner at the restaurant here tomorrow night, too, so I’ll be sure to share how that goes.

Anyway, on to a bit of what I’ve seen so far. Hold on to your hats kids — it’s been a wild two days!

Continue reading

Back in the Borough: Making the Most of Final Weekends

I’m not gonna lie friends — as our weekends slowly whittle down during our last full month living here in the city, it seems like every single thing we decide to do is important. That’s why I’m pretty happy with our weekend choices from last weekend, if I do say so myself.

To start off Saturday, we had to break in some new hiking boots we bought for our trek up Machu Picchu, so we decided to do that with a heart-pounding, rock-climbing hike up Breakneck Ridge, which is where we went for my 30th birthday, ummmm, a few years ago :/

Anyway, Saturday was a glorious day for a hike, and here’s a bit of what we saw:


photo 1

photo 2

photo 4


photo 6

photo 7

photo 8

photo 9

Needless to say, our shoes are more than broken in after that hike. You can take a bunch of different trails on Breakneck, but we chose the same one we did for my birthday, which is about 3 miles and includes a whole lot of rocks to climb, and a whole lot of spectacular views.

After working up a sweat that morning (way more exercise than I’m used to, friends), I was beyond excited for our dinner plans at The Monkey Bar with some of Chris’s family friends who are in town visiting from Australia. It had been my suggestion (of course), and I couldn’t wait to go there again. We had made the reservations online, and when we arrived were a bit sad to realize that the main dining room was closed, and we were seated in the bar area. It turned out okay, though, because the piano player started about halfway through our dinner (and was fantastic), and afterwards we asked the manager if we could take a stroll through the main dining room to check out the painting that lines the back wall. Not only did he oblige, but he handed over a smaller depiction of the painting that contained a key for who everyone in the painting is.

So we spent a couple minutes walking around the entire length of the room, checking out the painting. This was much closer than I got to it last time we were here!








Monkey_Bar10^^ Look at that tiny monkey at the top of my dessert plate! I mean … come on now! (Ummm, also, look at this fantastic dessert. And it was fantastic, my friends!)

After dinner we decided to stop off somewhere for a nightcap, and here, my friends, is where living in Manhattan really comes in handy. Because every now and then you might say, “Hey, how about a nightcap at that cute place we passed on the way to dinner with the jockeys outside,” and stumble into some place with so much history, just accidentally.

So the place we ended up, the pace with the jockeys outside, was actually the 21 Club. It was only fitting that we ended up here after dinner at The Monkey Bar (what with its own prohibition era history and folklore), because the 21 Club has plenty of its own amazing facts to tout. According to their website, ” ’21’ has never been a private members club. Even in the dangerous days of American Prohibition, the front door was always open to the public, although it’s fair to say that certain ‘guests’ wouldn’t be welcome. 

A receptionist or ‘screener’ would be employed to keep certain characters out, including gangsters (most notably John Thomas ‘Legs’ Diamond, who wanted a cut of the business) and federal agents (at least until prohibition was repealed in December 1933).”

Apparently the place has a disappearing bar from when they used to need to hide the booze at a moment’s notice, and it’s also been featured in more NYC movies than any other restaurant, including All About Eve, Sweet Smell of Success, Written on the Wind, Wall Street, One Fine Day, The Associate, Sex and the City, The Apprentice and Rear Window.

There are some pretty amazing facts about the place here, as well, my favorite being about the eclectic collection of toys that hang from the ceiling in the dining area. Apparently they started out as an ego contest. The first was a model plane from British Airways, which they hung over the table to impress investors. When Howard Hughes was dining there it caught his eye, and he insisted the place hang one of his planes as well. And so began the bragging-via-toys contest. These days the collection includes a model PT-109 boat from President Kennedy, a baseball bat from Willie Mays, a pool cue from the set of The Hustler, an Air Force One flyer from President Clinton, ice skates from Dorothy Hamill and a tennis racquet from Chris Evert.

According to the site, the staff dusts each of the 1,000 pieces on a regular basis, treating them as priceless antiques which, I guess you could say they are.






So Saturday was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect, old-school New York night. Exactly the kind of night I would like to have as we begin to wind down our time here. (And I begin to start crying every single day. Seriously. Don’t even get me started.)

Sunday we started what I’m sure will be a heart-tugging, emotional round of farewells to friends throughout the next couple of weeks. We met up with one of my best friends from high school and her (brand new!) husband for brunch at The Smith in the East Village.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Anyway, this week I’m doing some traveling in New Mexico, and I’m really excited to share all that information here soon, as well. But for now, bis bald, my friends! I’ll be back soon …

My Personal Ode to New York City


Well, Chris gave his notice last week, and I’ve told all my freelance clients as well — we’ll be taking the months of November and December to travel, then we’re moving to Denver at the beginning of January.

I haven’t thought this much about Manhattan since I was a naïve college freshman, majoring in journalism and dreaming of the day I would move into my own tiny little apartment anywhere I could afford in this amazing city, working my way up through the ranks at the magazine of my dreams.

Of course now that we’re moving away, all that I can think about is how I got here, and what a wild ride it’s been since.

My Manhattan chapter never involved most of the things I originally thought it would. The dingy, shoebox sized basement apartment. Unemployment. The vast debt and, in some cases, even vaster loneliness. My Manhattan story started out as a light at the end of the tunnel. After a particularly difficult breakup – which culminated with my moving back in with my parents in New Jersey for a period of eight months at the ripe old age of 23 — I was eager to take the first thing that came along if it would start me on the life I knew I was meant to live – the one that was waiting for me in Manhattan.

Instead of a dingy basement apartment, though, the first offer that came along was a humongous (by New York standards) bedroom in a converted 3-bedroom apartment in an elevator, doorman building in the Upper East Side — with laundry in the basement, to boot.

I remember the day I met Alexis – the girl who would become one of my first Manhattan roommates – in Bryant Park. I had just come from my internship at Jane, which I loved, and the stop to meet her was right along my route back to the Port Authority along 42nd Street to catch the bus back to my parents’ house. Alexis wore soccer shorts, sneakers and a t-shirt, and I was immediately at ease. “I can do this,” I remember thinking. “I can move back in with roommates after having lived with only my parents and my ex-boyfriend for the past two years.

And I can do it in Manhattan, too.”

Maura and Alexis were great roommates. We got along, were friendly enough and were always cognoscente of each other’s personal time and space. We were never rude or disrespectful … everything was just fine. My room in Normandy Court was so large that it basically fit most of the worldly possessions I had up to that point, and what I was missing, Maura and Alexis had provided for the apartment, having already lived there for two years before I arrived.

From the September I moved into Normandy in 2007 until the April I moved out in 2008, my Manhattan life was moving along exactly as I would have expected it to. My two best friends from college also lived in Manhattan, and having Alexis and Maura as roommates – girls who I genuinely liked – curbed any of that loneliness I had heard about and prepared for. I had moved on from being a not-at-all-paid intern at Jane to a not-so-well-paid freelance editorial assistant at another magazine, and then on again to an ever-so-slightly-better-paid on-staff EA at another magazine, and that was just as it should be. Because I’m a bit of a freak and there’s nothing I love more than budgeting, I made it work (with the help of a little bit of credit card debt in the process, of course).

Then, when I was least expecting it (and to be honest, not really exactly wanting it), I met Chris. In the most spectacular of New York fashions, I met an adorable Australian on New Years Eve at a gypsy punk band concert who was leaving to live in Canada in two weeks.

After we remained together the entire time Chris was gone (naturally), and he moved back to the states to accept the full-time job his internship had offered him and to continue our relationship (obviously), it was time to leave Normandy Court – the place that was my first official home in Manhattan – and find a place to live together.

I searched all over this island – midtown, the West Village, Chelsea, etc. — and settled on the second-to-last apartment I saw, one that happened to be only one block from my former residence at Normandy. That one-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up between 2nd and 3rd Avenue would become our home for the next six years. It’s where we adopted our first pet together – a rabbit named Nugget – and then our second, a cat named Penny.

It’s where we lived when we got engaged five years later, and then married. It’s the apartment where we took wedding photos, had our first arguments, discussed our future and talked about having babies. It’s the apartment where I went through another magazine job, then an online editor job, until finally settling on fulltime freelance writing, and where Chris moved up the ranks at three different advertising companies.

We turned 30 living in the apartment, bought our first Christmas trees together in this apartment and celebrated our one-year anniversary here.

This apartment. This one-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up apartment.

And this Manhattan. My Manhattan. I became an adult here. I founded my career here. Met the love of my life here. Got married here. I’ve cried here. Gone into debt here. Become financially savvy here. I’ve made oh so many amazing, wonderful friends – friends that I more than a little bit worry that I’ll lose when we move.

But this place, for all its laundry list of amazingness, has taken a lot out of me, as well. It’s exhausting living here. And I’m tired of schlepping heavy bags with me every single time we’re traveling (which is a lot). And I’m tired of overpaying for our (albeit well-loved) one-bedroom apartment. I’m tired of subway rides and crowded everywhere. I’m tired of the humanity, the concrete, the sweltering, airless summers.

Slowly, one by one, those amazing, wonderful friends who I met here are all starting to move away, as well. Of course many still remain, but for some, growing up and becoming a real adult means leaving behind those not-yet-fully-formed dreams we all had of living in Manhattan. I’m not sure if I ever thought that I’d live here forever – but I sure as hell always knew that my life would have a Manhattan chapter. Coming up on 32, though, as friends all start to marry off and buy houses and have babies, I have to wonder: “Can I accomplish everything I want to in life here in Manhattan?”

Saving money for future goals (house, kids, travel) has slowly become a game of randomly picking and choosing when we can actually enjoy this city and go out and spend time in it. Sure, there’s a lot to do that’s free, but there’s also a heck of a lot more to do that’s not.

I’ve loved my time here even more than I think my naïve college freshman self could have imagined. Living in New York means so many things – and you do become a bit hardened after being here for seven years. To me, it all boils down to one thing: Do I want to wait until my Manhattan memories become something I resent? Isn’t it better to go out on a high note, feeling like you took absolutely everything you could from this place that you love – and that you gave back just as good as you got?

Writing this essay right now, staring out at my fire escape watching the goings-on on the street below, I’m not so sure anymore.

What I know I’m happy about is the fact that our new apartment – wherever that may end up being – will contain so many artifacts from our life here in New York City, both outright and subtle.

  • The kitchen gear that I picked up when I worked as an assistant to the food editor at a magazine.
  • The huge pop art, close-up photo of myself and Chris that was brought to me by a company during a deskside meeting at one of the magazines where I worked.
  • The old-timey map of the five boroughs that Chris and I found at a vintage store in Saratoga Springs.
  • The ‘New York City Walking Tours’ tourist cards that were left here by Chris’s parents after one particular visit – along with all their other ‘Must Do in New York’ memorabilia.
  • The Christmas tree ornaments purchased at the Bryant Park holiday booths.
  • The plants we picked up at the Home Depot on 58th St. and somehow managed to keep alive.
  • The New York Post I kept from the first time Obama was elected as President.
  • The gorgeous chair I bought from the Pier 1 that used to exist on 3rd and 87th, that I carried all the way home by myself.

I’ll take less tangible things with me, as well, the memories that, as long as I write them down, will hopefully never fade. Things like …

  • The first time I saw a movie in Manhattan. I don’t remember which movie it was, but I remember the theater – a huge one in midtown, and I went with my college roommate, who also lives here. I remember feeling so grown-up, and so exhilarated, from that most mundane of activities.
  • Walking to my subway station for the first time after moving here, dressed in a skimpy dress and little black heels for a night out on the town, and the homeless man cat-calling to me from a nearby bench.
  • Going to the expensive, all-natural grocery store near Normandy Court the first time I needed groceries after I moved in because it was the first one I saw, when all along there was a Gristedes literally in the basement of our building.
  • Getting yelled at by a fellow resident of Normandy Court the day I moved in, all because I went back to check on my boxes when I realized I was leaving them in an unguarded area. He followed me down the hall like a deranged person, yelling, “What do you think, I’m going to steal them!? Maybe you don’t belong here in New York City!” I laughed at him and kept on walking, until the doorman told him to leave.
  • Spending every day possible in the city with a high school friend the summer before I moved here, traipsing from bar to bar in SOHO, making friends with bar tenders and flirting with boys.
  • Standing in the longest line I had ever seen in Central Park for a chance to see a free Vampire Weekend concert with Chris, and getting caught in torrential rain while doing so, the concert blaring in the background. We never made it in.
  • Running my first half marathon in Central Park – two hill-filled laps around it – and all of the hours of training I put in with friends in the months before.
  • Performing an entire month of jury duty here — enough said.
  • Volunteering in Harlem for a months-long afterschool literacy program, and becoming seriously attached to my “little”.
  • Coming back from an office outing in the Hamptons and watching from the bus as cops pulled a cyclist out from under a car that had hit him. He may or may not have died in that accident, and I’ll never forget being stuck in that traffic, watching the tragedy play out.
  • Attending a black tie charity fundraiser event at the Marriott Marque in Times Square and being so embarrassed that I couldn’t afford to donate more than $20 to the cause at the time … but feeling fabulous in my little black dress at the same time.
  • Celebrating a friend’s birthday with a trip to the Museum of Natural History for their once a month Friday night dance party – an event for which we paid $25 of our meager EA salaries – and then getting so drunk at her apartment before we even left that we stayed for five minutes, caught a taxi back to her place and spent the rest of the night taking turns throwing up our vodka Sprites and $25 sushi dinners.
  • Zesty’s, oh Zesty’s. The most amazing little pizza place that used to live on the corner of 95th and 3rd. Many a drunken night my friends and I would stumble in there, ordering the pasta pizza (you can do that when you’re 24) to soak up whatever the drink of choice had been for that night. Then later, watching as Zesty’s was the first of every single business on 3rd Ave between 95th and 94th St. to be put out of business by the building owner so he could build (yet another) high-rise apartment complex there.
  • The Indian food restaurant that used to live on the corner of our street, which was ranked a D for cleanliness and that I’m pretty sure gave me food poisoning.
  • The day Chris and I got married at City Hall, taking our wedding photos in the City Hall building, and on the steps of the building across the street that everyone thinks is City Hall but isn’t. Taking pictures in front of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building and in Madison Square Park. In Grand Central and the Highline and Central Park. Our cranky driver, who had no idea he was meant to drive us around all day on New Year’s Eve while we took photos. Eating our first dinner as a married couple at the restaurant at The Standard, and staying in one of their corner rooms that first night, surrounded by windows and the fading city lights, watching the Empire State Building put on quite the little light show at midnight.
  • My first real date with Chris, wherein I was so nervous before he showed up to my apartment, not quite remembering anything in particular about him from the drunken, hazy night before, when we had met. Him showing up, adorable, handing me a six-pack of Corona he had bought at Zesty’s because you don’t show up empty handed. Deciding to go for a walk to find some place to eat – then walking down 3rd Ave. all the way into the 50s from the 90s, not finding anywhere – or not wanting to stop talking to bother looking – and turning back up on Lexington and ending back at my place, where we ordered Chinese food and chatted with my roommate Alexis about her experience abroad in Australia.
  • The man who threw up in front of me on the train, and the man who peed in front of me at the subway entrance the very next day. The young girl having a seizure on the train, the man in a business suit who fainted, the homeless man with no legs who roams up and down on the floor of the subway cars, miraculously, begging for money.
  • The way our subway stop is lined with Christmas trees to purchase every December, all December long, and picking one out each year for our place, the size of the tree growing in proportion to our salaries.
  • Taking the subway into Grand Central when I worked in midtown, and entering my building which was directly across the street from the Chrysler building. Then later, taking subways to Astor Place, Union Square and finally, Bleecker Street, as my jobs all brought me farther and farther downtown, but never away from my beloved – if overcrowded and perpetually stalled – 6 train.
  • Walking to and from my apartment at Normandy to my job on 42nd and Lexington as many days as I could – a straight 2.8-mile walk there and 2.8 miles back.

What it all boils down to is if moving does turn out to all be a big mistake, I think I have enough memories to last me for a lifetime.

Because Manhattan – you will always have just a little piece of my heart.


Penn State Nittany Lions (for One Weekend)

Hi friends,

As I mentioned yesterday, my sister (who went to Penn State and met her now-husband there), picks one football game every year for our whole family to go and tailgate at, and this year’s game happened this past weekend, and just happened to be against UMass, which is the college my younger sister went to.

Sibling football rivalry — gotta love it.

Except that UMass didn’t play very well at all. But oh well, tailgating and going to the game was still fun! It was, however, much different to do tailgating with a toddler ;)

photo 1^^ My family takes tailgating very seriously. This was just breakfast — bagels with poached eggs and three different kinds of cheeses and ham and bacon. We had all kinds of salads, chili, sausages, guacamole and hoagies throughout the day, too. Not to mention the drinks ;)

photo 2

photo 3^^ As I said, tailgating with a toddler is very different from tailgating without one. The trick is a never-ending supply of new and fun things for them to explore.

photo 4

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

photo 8

photo 9

photo 10^^ Watching the marching band practice was a highlight.

photo 11

photo 12

photo 13^^ Beer pong and flip cup were highlights, too ;)

photo 14^^ Steph’s birthday was last week, so we got her a little birthday cake to celebrate.

photo 15

photo 16^^ Someone’s tired from all this tailgating fun.

photo 17

photo 18

photo 19

And that was this year in a nutshell, my friends. I hope everyone else had a fabulous weekend and is looking forward to welcoming the official start of fall with open arms. (I know I am.)

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: September 15

Alexis_Wedding^^ We had so much fun at my former roommate Alexis’s Long Island wedding this past weekend! Being a bridesmaid has come to mean so much to me this past summer — it’s been a great way to stay in touch with friends and see them at different things like showers and bachelorettes. Everyone is so busy these days — having an excuse to hang out is always a plus in my book ;)


Life Recently: Late Summer Edition

Hi friends,

Summer certainly came and went in an instant, am I right? Mine was … ummm … interesting. There were a lot of things that happened with my family this summer that kept me busy, but along the way we still managed to have lots of NYC fun and, thanks to our plethora of weddings this fall, I was able to spend a lot of time with friends at multiple bachelorette parties and other fun events.

Here’s a bit of what’s been going on, according to my iPhone:

photo 13^^^ The gorgeous gardens at The Cloisters.

photo 12^^^ Drinks on The Refinery Hotel‘s rooftop.

photo 11^^^ Soaring high above New York City on our helicopter tour with HeliNY Tours.

photo 10^^^ Witnessing a stand-off between Penny and my friend’s cat Libbie, who Penny will be spending a lot of time with when Chris and I travel later this Fall. Hopefully they’ll eventually get on better than this photo suggests!

photo 9^^^ A little silly fun at a friend’s beautiful Red Maple Vineyard wedding over Labor Day weekend.

photo 8^^^ The amazing pink sky and white moon, as seen from my parents’ front yard. No filter needed, my friends. Amazing.

photo 7^^^ Taking a little stroll along the Hudson to The Boat Basin Cafe when a friend came for a visit.

photo 6^^^ We never got to walk the Brooklyn Bridge like we wanted to, but we did get to drive over it in a taxi ;)

photo 5^^^ Being a Broadway Baby with Lisa on our way to see This Is Our Youth.

photo 4^^^ For one of the bachelorette parties I attended this summer, we decorated our hotel room with Hawaiian-themed decor and wore tacky Hawaiian shirts, because this particular friend spent three years living there. We did a pretty dang good job, if I do say so myself!

photo 3^^^ While nightclubs certainly aren’t my thing on a regular basis, chillin’ with some old friends from high school for a couple nights at some were a lot of fun.

photo 2^^^ Atlantic City turned it on for us during one friend’s bachelorette. The weather was amazing, and we had a ton of fun.

photo 1^^^ Andddd … my little sister is engaged! ‘Nuff said ;)

And with that, I release you, summer 2014, into perpetuity. Here’s to fall. And amazing travel plans. And cooler weather. And tights and boots and sweaters and scarves. Here’s to new beginnings and saying goodbye (for now!) to friends and beloved places.


Back in the Borough: An Epic New York Weekend

Hi friends,

So besides the helicopter tour Chris and I took on Friday (which I talked about yesterday), we also purchased Metropolitan Museum of Art tickets to check out the amazing Garry Winogrand exhibit (if you’re in town before Sept. 21, you should seriously check it out!) on Saturday, as well as The Cloisters on Sunday. (Tickets to the Met also get you free admission to The Cloisters in the same week.)

I’ve been jonesing to see the Winogrand exhibit since I read about it in New York Magazine about a month ago, and checking out The Cloisters (which is located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan — kind of a pain to get to) has been on Chris’s Manhattan bucket list for a while so, you know … two birds with one stone ;)

The Met is one of my all-time favorite places (it’s a very close second to The Museum of Natural History), and The Cloisters turned out to be totally interesting and beautiful. So it was a good NYC weekend, my friends. A very good one, indeed.

photo 22

photo 21^^ Views from The Cloister’s terrace were spectacular.

photo 19

photo 18

photo 17

photo 16

photo 15

photo 14^^ The garden with all the medieval herbs and flowers was definitely my favorite part of the visit.

photo 13

photo 12

photo 11

photo 10

photo 9

photo 8

photo 7

Photo 6^^ The walk from the subway to The Cloisters is actually quite steep, so visitors beware — don’t wear heels!

photo 5^^ Saturday after The Met we stopped off at the Third Avenue Ale House and then Kaia Wine Bar, both in our neighborhood. At the Ale House we asked to sample some of the beers, and they came in these adorable teeny, tiny little beer mugs. How could we not take a photo?!

And a few from The Met:

photo 4

photo 3

photo 2

photo 1

Bis bald, my friends! I hope everyone had a swell weekend, as well!


Back in the Borough: A Helicopter Tour High Above NYC

Hi friends,

So Chris and I finally cashed in on an amazing wedding present from one of Chris’s friends in Australia — a helicopter ride high above this beautiful city. We booked with HeliNY Tours (which is pretty pricey at more than $300 for two people, but totally worth it, in my opinion).

Here’s a bit of what we saw …

photo a

photo b

photo e

photo c

photo d

photo 4

photo 3

photo 2

photo 1

















It was, without a doubt, one of the most fun experiences I’ve had since living in good ole’s NYC.

Bis bald, friends!


The 52 Project: September 8

photo 20^^ This weekend was jam packed and amazing — just the kind of NYC weekend I needed to get back into the swing of things after a crazy, hectic, mixed-up kind of summer. I’ll talk about all the different things we did in a couple of posts throughout the week, but for now this photo is one of the many spectacular views from The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.


The 52 Project: September 2

Red_Maple_Vineyard^^ Welcome to September (and Fall!) my friends. Oy this year. I sound like a broken record, I know, but this year has been — and continues to be — quite the year. This past weekend, Labor Day weekend, Chris and I attended a wedding of one of my besties from high school. She was married to an amazing man at Red Maple Vineyard in West Park, NY, and while it was unfortunately not the best of weather for when they had their own ceremony, my mom and I visited the venue again on Labor Day (for our own personal reasons … ahem little sister who just got engaged!), and took a trek up the hill to see what the view would have been for Faye, had the weather been nice. Simply. Stunning. Hope you guys all had a fabulous Labor Day weekend, and are as happy to welcome in a new season as I am!


Back in the Borough: When Old Friends Come to Visit

Hi friends,

So I just had one of my dearest friends come to visit me in NYC, and oh the fun we had. She was here from Friday through Tuesday, and because she used to live here, there was none of that usual pressure of checking out all the touristy spots or rushing around to do as much as possible. Instead, we could pick and chose which activities meant the most to us, and isn’t that just always the best way to do things?

Anyway, I miss her a ton, and I was going through some of the photos I took while she was here and thought I’d post them to share a bit of what we did since, you know, I thought it was so much fun ;)

Just some food for thought!

01Me_and_Lise^^ I met Lisa at Penn Station on Friday (I was coming back to the city from my parents’ in Jersey, she was coming from Virginia), and before we even dropped our bags off at home we stopped at Blockheads, an amazing Mexican restaurant with even more amazing drinks called Bulldogs. (Tiny Coronas mixed in with Margaritas — yum.) Anyway the combination of Bulldogs and the beer we drank when we did finally make it back to my apartment may or may not have contributed to the silliness of this photo.

02Refinery_Rooftop^^ Granted this isn’t the best photo, but the next night we met some friends for drinks at the Refinery Rooftop, which is a pretty lovely little spot in midtown to grab a quick drink.

03Times_Square^^ After drinks we walked over to Times Square to catch a play …

04Our_Youth^^ Which was This is Our Youth, with Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, now in previews at the Cort Theater.
05Me_and_Lise2^^ While we had every intention of walking the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday to meet up with friends at their apartment on the other side, we were lazy for the first half of the morning, and instead ended up grabbing a cab …

06Brooklyn_Bridge^^ And taking photos out of the window of the back seat.

07Empire_View^^ After dinner at El Cantinero in Union Square, we walked down to Washington Square Park and caught a glimpse at the Empire State gleaming in the background through the Washington Square Arches.

08Fountain_View^^ And we sat by the water fountain.
09Me_and_Lise3^^ And we took selfies.

10Hudson_River^^ The next day we walked all the way from my apartment on the Upper East Side to the Hudson River all the way as far as  you can go on the West Side.

11Boat_Basin^^ Which is where the Boat Basin is, a cute little outdoor cafe that sits right overlooking the water.


And that, as they say, was that, my friends. You know — in case you’re looking for ideas for when your own bestie comes to visit you in NYC ;)

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: August 25

NYC_Play^^ I have a BFF in town visiting for a couple of days, and on Saturday we headed out to Times Square to check out “This is Our Youth”, a play about three young kids growing up in the early 80s dealing with drugs, sex and general adulthood. We weren’t too sure how we felt about it at first, but in the days following, as we continued to chat about it, we realized the play did exactly what it was meant to do — get us talking about it — so that means it must have been good, right?!


The 52 Project: August 18

Atlantic_City^^ I’m not gonna lie — this summer is kicking my you-know-what, guys! It’s been hectic and crazy, happy and sad, stressful and fun … sheesh! It’s also been a bit hard keeping up with this blog, but I’m doing what I can! Anyway, this past weekend I attended my final of four bachelorette parties for the summer. This one was in Atlantic City (again … had one there earlier this summer as well!), and we stayed at the Revel, which, sadly, is closing Labor Day weekend. We were worried about the service we would receive when we heard this news, but we found nothing short of amazingly friendly and lovely people, and the hotel itself was gorgeous with a specular view of the ocean. All in all, it was a super fun, very nice weekend.  Hope you guys are all having a fabulous summer!


Back in the Borough: The Mansfield Hotel and Long Walks Home

Hey friends,

With all that’s been going on this summer, I haven’t had a lot of time to just wander around NYC. Last night, though, I met a friend for drinks at The Mansfield Hotel bar (aptly named M Bar) in midtown (drinks here are expensive, but the atmosphere is laid back and subdued, which can be really nice (and hard to find) in the hubbub of midtown. If you do find yourself here, you simply must try Violet’s Blue Martini with fresh blueberries and pineapple juice. To die for.)

Anyway, the bar is on 44th, and as I started walking to the subway I thought … why not walk home? I haven’t done that in forever, and the night was cool and breezy after the rain, so I just went ahead and did it, my friends.

And you know what? It was lovely.

Public_Library^^ Even on a wet and dreary day, the New York Public Library is still the most lovely.

Pretty_Buildings^^ If this photo doesn’t scream New York — with its lights, tall buildings and taxi cab — then I don’t know what does.

Radio_City^^ If you squint really hard, you can see the red Radio City lights shining away in the background.


Rockefeller_Center^^Rockefeller Center, in all its glory.

St_Patricks^^ It’s kinda hard to tell from this photo, but St. Patrick’s Cathedral is getting a massive facelift.

Street_Vendor^^ I have an unhealthy obsession with street vendors — particularly of the large pretzel variety ;)

54th_St^^ 54th Street ya’ll! Only 40 more blocks to go!

Sky_Clock^^ I couldn’t tell you why, but I think there’s something eerily beautiful about this photo …

Birdcage_Women^^ Birdcage women? Interesting display.

Fall_Clothes^^ Anyone else as purely ecstatic about the fall weather clothing making its way to window displays? No? That’s just me? Okay then.

Okay friends. Well I promise to be back at some point to talk more about Gallow Green, the rooftop garden where we celebrated my sister’s engagement last weekend. It’s seriously a sight to be seen.

Bis bald, friends!

The 52 Project: August 11

_DSC6004^^ Well friends, this summer has been a lesson in ups and downs, highs and lows, happy and sad. Saturday, though, was a decidedly happy day when my little sister and her awesome boyfriend got engaged! A huge shout-out to Brian for inviting us all along to surprise Steph. Brian popped the question on The High Line, then we headed over to the Gallow Green rooftop garden  at The McKittrick Hotel for a bottomless, boozy brunch (more on this later) and then to American Whiskey to keep the celebration going. I seriously cannot believe my baby sister is engaged, and she couldn’t have picked a better guy ;) Congrats you two, we love you!


The 52 Project: July 28


^^ A shot of the gorgeous room from the wedding we attended on Saturday at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn. The cocktail hour had no less than 10 stations with fresh cheeses and meats, pastas, veggies, seafood and much more. The entree menu offered six meal options and the Venetian hour has about a dozen dessert tables with everything from popcorn, cookies, snow cones and fondue to omelets, a sundae bar, cotton candy and a cannoli table.  This, my friends, is how the Italians in Brooklyn celebrate a marriage, and I’m happy to be a part of it ;)


The 52 Project: July 21

Seafood_Night^^So this past weekend was a whirlwind of crap that I won’t go into detail on, but let’s just say the week that preceded it was pretty awesome. I was down in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with about 30-40 family members, and this photo is just one of many I took during our Seafood Night extravaganza. It’s tradition for us to do one night where everyone gathers at one house and eats all the seafood we can stuff into our faces. Blue crabs. Lobster. Oysters on the Half Shell. Steamed Clams and Clams on the Half Shell. Shrimp. Chicken. Steak. Corn. I mean really — it’s an extravaganza. YUM!



The 52 Project: July 14

Alexis_Borgata^^I spent last weekend in Atlantic City, at the Borgata Water Club, to celebrate my friend Alexis’s upcoming wedding. It was a blast. Then I drove straight from Atlantic City to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware for a week of vacation with the family, so I’ll probably be a bit MIA this week. Plenty to updates to come next week, my friends. Bis bald!



Back in the Borough: A Sunday Visit to Gotham West Market

Hi friends,

Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend! Chris and I spent the holiday watching soccer, celebrating good friends at their wedding in the West Village and checking out Gotham West Market, which I have been wanting to visit for a while now.

photo 1^^Our first stop was Ivan Raman Slurp Shop for some ramen noodles.

photo 2^^I had the veggie noodles and Chris got the Tokyo Shio with pork belly.  Both were super delish.

photo 3

photo 4^^ After lunch we moved on to El Colmado for some wine on their outdoor bar stools.

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7^^Finally, at Cannibal we took advantage of their 3 o’clock happy hour to grab some beer and cocktails. It was the perfect ending to the day.

photo 8^^ Except that I wasn’t done yet, because I had to grab some ice cream from Jeni’s. A triple scoop with three different flavors. Do not come all the way out to Gotham West Market (which is pretty far out of the way if you live where we do) without picking up some ice cream. This alone would have made the trip worth it.

photo 9^^ We had some time to kill before 3 o’clock happy hour at Cannibal, so we walked the two blocks over to the Hudson to partake in the view — which includes the Intrepid.

photo 10^^ A seriously true sentiment.

photo 11^^ Kayaks, just waiting to see the light of day.

photo 12^^ This guys was teaching paddle board lessons to a small group of people. I could not partake in this activity, even if I wanted to.

photo 13

And that was about it, my friends! A very good 4th of July weekend, indeed. Next weekend I’m off to Atlantic City for one of two bachelorette parties there this summer, then it’s on to Rehobeth Beach for a week with the family directly from AC.

Bis bald, friends — and happy July!


Back in the Borough: Grab Some Sweets in NYC


Welcome, friends, to the delectable part of my Weary Wanderer ‘In NYC’ Guide that is ‘Grab Some Sweets in NYC’! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate sweets — and even more so in the summer, for some reason. There’s just something about the warmer weather that says fro yo and candy in the park to me.

Anyway, there are a lot of places to get your sweet on in NYC, but I’ve compiled a list of my six all-time favorites here, along with one ‘must try ASAP’ option. So, without further ado … you no longer have an excuse for not sugaring up when you’re visiting Manhattan.

Where to Grab Some Sweets in NYC

  1. Baked by Melissa for cupcakes: Sure, you could hit up Crumbs for the most gigantic cupcakes of your life that will totally spoil your dinner and, trust me, there is a time and a place for that — but on any given day, you can hop on into a Baked by Melissa shop and eat multiple of the most delectable, delightful, teeny tiny cupcakes you’ve ever had in your life. I mean, July’s ‘Mini of the Month’ (how adorable is it that they call them that?) is the Root Beer Float cupcake. Ummm … ’nuff said.
  2. Dylan’s Candy Bar for candy: There isn’t one stinkin’ stankin’ thing that I don’t love about Dylan’s Candy Bar. (Well, maybe the prices, but hey, it’s Manhattan.) OHMGEE you guys. Back in my days as a staffer at magazines, I used to attend events on the top floor of this candy wondershop, and I always hopped at the chance to go. The decor is adorable. They have every candy option under the sun — I mean, they even do Candy Cocktails. For candy, Dylan’s can’t be beat. [Oh and by the way, “Dylan” of Dylan’s Candy Bar is Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph, inspirer of all your little kid candy-covered dreams — so that’s cool.]
  3. Corner Cafe & Bakery for cake: Okay you guys, I’m not gonna lie — this is a bit of a shout out to a neighborhood joint. I’ll admit it — Corner Cafe & Bakery holds a special place in my heart. This little cafe is in my neighborhood [on the corner of 3rd and 92nd, to be exact], and many, many, many a night I have walked home past an appropriate bedtime [sorry, Mom and Dad], past this tiny little bakery, to the sweet smells of the night staff making all those delicious treats fresh for the morning. Plus, this is pretty much where we get our birthday cakes every single year. They’re kinda the best. [They make a mean Chai Latte, too!]
  4. Tasti D-Lite for frozen yogurt: Frozen yogurt is kind of a huge thing in the city, my friends, I’m not sure if you know that. But while the 16 Handles and Red Mango’s and Pinkberry’s of the world are trying to inch their way in, I’m still a Tasti D kinda gal all the way. There used to be one on our block — the kind that only served three variations — chocolate, vanilla and a flavor of the week. But it’s closed, and now I have to, sadly, walk all the way to 86th street, to a much larger Tasti D with many, many more options (phooey) to get my fix. The best frozen yogurt is a very personal thing to Manhattanites — but if you want this girl’s opinion, I’ve tried ‘em all, and you can’t go wrong with the classic D-Lite.
  5. Li-Lac Chocolates in Grand Central Market for chocolate: When a place has been around, in NYC, since 1923, you just know it’s got to be great. Li-Lac is conveniently located in the Grand Central Market, just perfect for picking up a delicious little chocolate treat in between tourist stops at the Chrysler Building and Bryant Park. Go on … you know you want to.
  6. Macaron Parlour for Macarons: Candied Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese. Elvis. Honey & Cognac. S’Mores. Oh, Macaron Parlour … you just get me. Located in the East Village [which is so fun], and conveniently next to the Hummus Place [which I adore], the Macaron Parlour is the perfect place to stop in for a sweet treat in NYC — although I dare you to try eating just one macaron. I maintain that this is a physically impossible feat.
  7. Dying to try: Levain BakeryThe Levain Bakery seems to have everything I love and more: from cookies and baguettes to brioche, sticky buns and apple bread. I want it, I need it, gimme, gimme gimme! Levain is most definitely on my dying to try list.

And that’s it, friends! If this list doesn’t get you sufficiently sugared up, well I just don’t know what will. Up next on my ‘In NYC’ list … amazing places for photographs in NYC.

Bis bald friends — and to all, a happy Independence Day!