New York Favorites … after 8 Months!

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve lived in New York for eight months. Time flies!

I really love this city. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been all candy and rainbows since we moved here – it’s pretty darn expensive for one thing – but it’s been a lot of fun exploring different neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, etc.

I thought I would do something different this Friday and share some of my favorite things to do and see in New York.

Hello Little Home: New York FavoritesRiverside Park follows the Hudson River on the west side of the city. The views are great, and walking along the riverfront path is the perfect way to spend a lazy day. When it’s time for a break, I love to drop by Boat Basin Cafe for a drink, food, and people watching.

New York Favorites: Riverside Park SunsetA sunset over the Hudson River – it makes New Jersey look beautiful!

My other favorite park, of course, is Central Park. I love to loop around the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, get lost on a winding path while eating hot roasted nuts from a vendor, or enjoy a picnic and bottle of wine.

One of my favorite memories was walking around the park (with what felt like half of New York) after a snow storm. It was such a great atmosphere with people cross-country skiing, sledding, and just generally enjoying the day!

New York Favorites: Central ParkEnjoying Central Park in all seasons!

My husband and I like to go on long walks on the weekend. One day we were exploring Morningside Heights (one of my favorite neighborhoods), and we came across a White Peacock at St. John the Divine Cathedral. I’ve never seen anything like it!

The Cathedral itself has a really interesting story. It was designed in 1888, begun in 1892, and remains uncompleted. During it’s history, it has undergone radical stylistic changes, the interruption of the two World Wars, and a fire.

New York Favorites: Peacock at St. John the Divine CathedralPretty cool, huh?

New York has lots of great food. Some of my faves are tortas at El Mitote, amazingly light and delicious cupcakes and tempting baked goods at Magnolia, steamed buns and cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar, yummy Ukrainian food at Veselka, babka, rugelach, and strudels from Zabar’s, and chalupas from Noche Mexicana.

New York Favorites: RestaurantsClockwise: borscht at Veselka, El Mitote, Veggie Bun from Momofuku, and Zabar’s

Walking the High Line is the perfect way to spend a beautiful day. It’s a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. You’ll have great views of the surrounding neighborhood, which is pretty fun to explore, too.

New York Favorites: The High LineOne of the many classic city views from the High Line.

Straying from Manhattan, the Brooklyn Greenway (waterfront) is another great walk. If you are looking for amazing views of Manhattan, head there.

New York Favorites: Brooklyn Greenway (waterfront)View of Manhattan from Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn.

For another unforgettable view, take a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It does get very crowded, so I recommend an early start, but it’s worth it. The bridge itself is gorgeous, and you’ll get a great perspective of the East River, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

New York Favorites: Brooklyn BridgeWalking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a really cool place to explore in Queens. It was the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, and you can still find fair remnants there. It’s a huge park, and the day I was there was freezing, so another visit is definitely in order.

Nearby the park is a huge Chinatown (one of the largest outside of Asia). It’s fun to visit, and we ate at a really good restaurant (the name of which escapes me).

New York Favorites: Flushing Meadows Corona Park - UnisphereThe Unisphere, theme symbol of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair.

One of my favorite places, which I just discovered recently, is Governor’s Island. It’s a former military base that the government sold to New York in 2003.

Governor’s Island is the perfect place to spend a beautiful, sunny day (it’s only open on summer weekends). You can pack a picnic or buy food there, ride a vintage French carnival ride, cruise the island on bikes, or just enjoy the views of the city. I’m hoping to spend a lot more time there next summer!

New York Favorites: Governor's IslandVintage Mickey Mouse on a ride at Governor’s Island.

There aren’t a lot of bargains to be found in New York, but the Staten Island Ferry is one of them. You won’t have to pay a dime to take in views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Upon arrival at Staten Island, you can turn right back around and ride the ferry back to Manhattan, or you can explore a little bit. The area where the ferry lets you off isn’t very exciting, and it’s even a little rough, but it’s worth checking out for a few minutes.

If you do decide to explore, make sure to stop at Enoteca Maria for some amazing Italian food. We ate there on a whim, and the meal and hospitality were unforgettable. It’s within walking distance of the ferry terminal.

New York Favorites: Staten Island FerryStaten Island Ferry Terminal

Finally, my list of New York favorites wouldn’t be complete without Coney Island. It’s equal parts seedy and old-fashioned fun!

I love to walk the boardwalk, eat deep fried food, and people watch (some of the best in New York). You can also ride vintage amusement park rides – like the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone – and even see a freak show. My favorite time to visit is the off season – it feels like you have the whole boardwalk to yourself!

New York Favorites: Coney IslandConey Island fun!

That wraps up my list of favorites. Have you been to any of these places? Let me know what you think!



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Get Fit and Look Good Doing It!

Confession time: I pretty much gave up on exercising this summer. It was so hot and humid here in New York that I just couldn’t muster up the effort. Let’s just say that I definitely need to join an air-conditioned gym next summer!

Now that the weather has cooled off, I’m trying to get back on track. I especially like taking walks around the Central Park reservoir – the views and people watching can’t be beat. I’m also a fan of doing a yoga or cardio DVD at home.

As silly as it sounds, one thing that has always motivated me to exercise is a cute outfit. I figure that if I need to get sweaty, then I might as well look good while I’m doing it. Here are three outfits that will help you get fit and keep you looking good, too.
Get Fit in Style: Run / Walk

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I have a love/hate relationship with running. I’d like to call myself a runner, but I just find it painful (please tell me I’m not alone here). So for now, I’m walking.

This is the perfect outfit whether you are a runner or walker. Start with a pair of fun capris or tights, and top them with a long-sleeved t-shirt. If it’s chilly out, layer on a bright pullover.

A headband is a must for all of my looks! There is nothing worse than having a face full of hair when you are trying to focus on your workout. You’ll also need a great pair of sneakers – I’m partial to these bright blue ones from New Balance – and don’t forget an arm band for your phone.

Get Fit in Style: Yoga1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Yoga is such a great way to get in a workout and relax, too! I like to workout to DVDs in the privacy of my apartment (Sara Ivanhoe is my favorite instructor).

I’m in love with this open back top. It’s add so much personality to this outfit. Wear it with a coordinating sports bra underneath. I’m a fan of Athleta’s Kickbooty Pants, which come in a size to fit everyone – from petite to tall and from regular to plus-size.

If you are practicing at home, just add a fun headband and yoga mat, and you are good to go. For studio practitioners, grab a pair of cushioned flip-flops and a strap for your mat before heading out the door.

Get Fit in Style: Cardio1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

For any type of cardio workout, I like to keep my clothes light, but not so bare that I feel self-conscious. This tank is a great basic – I particularly like the ruching – that comes in a bunch of colors (just in case you don’t like neon). I would wear it with a pair of great fitting capris.

Finish the outfit with a pair of coordinating sneakers and, of course, a headband. If you are heading to the gym, a quilted jacket with keep you warm on the way there, and this spacious bag will hold all of your “stuff.”

So, tell me: what motivates you to workout? Do you have a regular routine that you follow?

I’m linking up with Style Elixir’s Friday’s Fab Favorites and Simply Lulu Style’s What I’m Loving Fridays.

Style Elixir's Fab Favorites Link UpSimply Lulu's Style What I'm Loving Fridays

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Green Your Home This Fall: Etsy Planter Roundup

Fall has officially arrived, and I for one am excited. The weather is finally starting to cool off (goodbye, oppressive humidity), and I even saw a few colorful leaves in Central Park yesterday. Best of all, I can finally put my boots and sweaters back into heavy rotation.

This is also the perfect time to bring a little green into your home. Plants are a warm, homey element that adds a little life to any interior, especially in fall and winter. If you’re like me and missing a green thumb, just look for easy care varieties, such as succulents. It’s really hard to kill those guys – trust me!

I found a ton of unique planters on Etsy, so don’t settle for a boring terracotta pot!

Etsy Planter Roundup

  1. This set of 4 Mini Planters from Wind and Willow Home has a cute splash of neon, perfect for brightening up your window sill.
  2. I have wanted to make a terrarium for the longest time, and this Vintage Apothecary Jar from Tinted Vintage is perfect for what I have in mind. If you need instructions, Shannon from Naturally Contrary has a great terrarium tutorial.
  3. Etsy is a great source for vintage, and this Planter with Applied Floral Motif from Mon Jardin Vintage is truly a one-of-a-kind find. The bright turquoise color and cheery flowers will brighten up the grayest winter day.
  4. Bring a little zen into your home this fall with this Mini Buddha Head Planter from Brooklyn Global. It’s perfect for brightening up a dark corner.
  5. I love this Aged Concrete Planter from msink, which is the perfect pot for a space that needs a little texture.
  6. I’m looking for a hanging pot for my apartment, and this Geometric Hanging Planter from Revisions Design is a great option. The leather cord is such a unique and modern touch.
  7. How cool is this Monogram Planter Box by Rooted in Succulents?!?
  8. This Sweet Pea Planter from Kim Westad is so pretty. It would look amazing planted with a graceful white orchid.
  9. Another great vintage find! This Brass Hammered Basket Planter from Amy’s Vintage Decorium has such a unique shape.
  10. For a Jonathan Adler-esque feel, you can’t beat this Snail Garden Planter from Fruit Fly Pie. Be sure to check out the shop for lots of other fun designs, too.

What is your favorite kind of plant? Do you have any plant care tips for those of us with a black thumb?

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Creamy Ricotta-Blue Cheese Spread

I love to entertain, but I tend to get a little type-A about it. It’s fun to put out an impressive spread, serve tasty wine, and show off an impeccable apartment. Unfortunately, that usually means scrambling beforehand, because let’s get real: my apartment is never spotless, and it’s a lot of work to prepare a great meal.

Lately, I’ve been doing things a little differently. I like to start things off with a great dip or spread, served with fresh veggies and crackers. Then I follow things up with an easy dinner (like pizza made with premade crust) and finish with a dessert from the bakery. How simple is that?

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite dips.

Creamy Ricotta-Blue Cheese Spread

Creamy Ricotta-Blue Cheese SpreadIngredients:

  • 1 15-oz. container ricotta
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Ricotta blue cheese mixture.Mix well, breaking up any large chunks of blue cheese.

Serve with crackers and veggies. The spread is also delicious spread on toast for a snack (my favorite way to eat it).

Creamy Ricotta Blue Cheese SpreadEasy EntertainingCome back next Monday. I’m sharing another recipe for easy entertaining: my favorite hummus!

What is your favorite easy recipe to serve guests?

I’m linking up with Sweet Bella Roos Pin It Thursday and Tater Tots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza.

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Hello Friday! Link Roundup: Recipes to Try

Happy Friday! I’ve spent most of this week recovering from the past few weeks. We had a month of visitors. Not that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with everyone, but my body, and my feet especially, are rebelling. Note to self: buy sandals with cushioning next summer!

Wonder Wheel at Coney IslandMy husband and his mom, just after they rode the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island.

Since I’ve had my feet kicked up this week, I’ve been on something of a pinning streak (follow me at Pinterest here). As always, food is at the top of my list. Here are a few of the recipes that I can’t wait to try this fall.

Fall leaf at Governor's IslandA fall leaf at Governor’s Island.

I love samosas, but I have yet to make them myself. This Indian-Style Samosa Pot Pie looks right up my alley – easy and delicious.

I’m on a pumpkin kick (happens every fall), and this Raw Pecan Pumpkin Butter would be great on a slice of pumpkin bread. All pumpkin, all of the time!

Or maybe a Pumpkin Cheesecake Martini is more your style?

My niece Savanna enjoying a cupcake.My niece, Savanna … girl knows how to eat a cupcake!

If you are looking for a way to use up some veggies, this Gnocchi Primavera would be a tasty way to do it.

I’m really curious to try this Dill Pickle Dip. Apparently, it’s a crowd pleaser.

On a healthier note, this Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Garbanzo Bean “Croutons” looks really good, as does this Layered Cobb Salad.

Picnic in Central ParkA picnic in Central Park with our Australian friends.

There is nothing better than chips and salsa, so I’m definitely going to try this recipe for the Best Salsa Ever. It’s supposed to be easy to make, too.

Maybe I’ll make a batch of these Creamy Corn and Pepper Taquitos to go with the salsa!

I’ve already talked about my love for One Pot Pasta, so it probably won’t surprise you that I’m planning to try this One Pot Wonder Thai Style Peanut Pasta. Yum!

Pretty flowers.Pretty flowers – I love the gorgeous fall colors!

I have to wrap it up with another pumpkin recipe: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. Sounds like the perfect fall treat!

Are you cooking anything new this weekend? I’d love to hear about it!

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