Marvelous Manhattan – September Edition

While my family is suffering back in California with temperatures over 100F, we’ve been lucky with some cooler temperatures.  Even Sunday morning brought some fall-like weather, catching us off-guard with a chill in the air.  Sure, the weather did warm up in the afternoon, but it was nice to catch a glimpse of what’s to come in the next few months.

Not too much has been on the books the past few weeks, some brunching, hiking, dodgeball, and oh yeah that thing called work that helps me pay the bills.  But since work isn’t the most exciting thing to discuss here, let’s move onto some of my favorites of late.

IMG_6034Brunching or lunching at the Waldorf Astoria.  Here we have THE Waldorf Salad (fresh apples, caramelized walnuts, grapes, celeriac) for $16.  Quite delicious for the experience.

The Waldorf Astoria
301 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022

IMG_6060 Finding your new scent for 30% off.  Yes please!  I had spotted this time after time at Anthropologie but never had the courage to drop $68 on a perfume that may or may not work.  Well, with a such a discount, it was time to make a purchase.

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 What do you know, there’s now a Birchbox store in SOHO!  This is your stop for all those beautiful body, hair, and nail products.  I swear, it’s like the grown-up version of a candy store with rows and rows of goodies.

Birchbox
433 W Broadway – New York, NY 10012
(W Broadway + Prince St.)

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I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few Birchboxes and there are a few products I absolutely adore.  There’s one sunscreen that you put on underneath or instead of foundation and it is possibly the smoothest feeling lotion I have ever encountered. The entire store is a goldmine of beauty products, perfumes, and much much more.  But don’t take my word for it…check it out!

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Shopping and walking around town will help you work up an appetite.  Inevitably that means searching for something on Yelp because I still don’t know my way about restaurants in SOHO.  Well, finding this spot off of Yelp was an absolute win.

Burger & Barrel
25 West Houston, New York, NY 10012
*Highly recommend the Bash Burger (award winning)

As many note, “Notable burgers, upscale pub eats & wine on tap in a high-energy setting with a trendy crowd”  So, with this delicious looking picture, I leave you for the day.

For more things marvelous and wonderful, continue on here :)

Tuesday Travels – San Francisco Summer

A couple weeks back I made a quick trip to San Francisco. It may have been a bit crazy on my part, only 24 hours in the foggy bay, but just enough time to explore my friend’s new (ish) digs and her neck of the woods.  Since I went to school near the bay, I had traveled to all the touristy spots, so no Pier 39 this time around.

Here’s a little look at our schedule and some neat spots to put on your next itinerary :)

IMG_5823Best way to start the day is a hike and some java.  Stop by one of the hipster spots or find yourself at Blue Bottle Coffee, a fresh take on the brew that happened to start in Oakland.  Their coffee has such a strong flavor and is perfect brewed into a latte or chilled into their popular cold brew.

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I recently learned that it’s best to drink your caffeine four afters after you work out so a little pre-hike java was just what the doctor ordered.

IMG_5863So, whether you like to drink your coffee right away or later in the day, I highly recommend taking a walk, hike, or jog along the city streets or local hills.

IMG_5953While I sure lucked out with the weather (note my desire to get use out of my summer gear…that doesn’t get used in the air-conditioned office), we couldn’t escape Mr. SF Fog (fun fact: named Karl the Frog).  You should be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background but it’s there.  Just take my word for it :)

IMG_5840See, I wasn’t pulling your leg.  There it is, out in the distance.  Now, if you happen to find yourself in the city on a clear day, take a walk on the bridge or beach and check out the true bold color. It’s absolutely breathtaking. 

IMG_5874_FotorIf only architecture everywhere was this gorgeous.  Don’t you just love the colors and design?  Maybe it’s just my love for the sea and blue palate that caught my eye. 

IMG_5828CHINATOWN

A San Francisco classic and oh so much fun during Chinese New Year.  There are tons of great places to eat and it’s even worth stopping by for fresh fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

Laura took me to the Eastern Bakery where we split a coconut bun with the most wonderful filling and still warm from the oven (for a whopping $0.75!  Sure can’t beat those prices).  If you really want to be one of the locals, ask for a moon cake and I’m sure you will be glad you did.

Eastern Bakery
720 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

SF - ChinatownAnd how about those hills? Sure, I was used to running these sorts of hills back in the day, but they are totally nonexistent in New York.  Hills + stairs make for the perfect lower body workout.

SF Scenery - Hiking

From COIT TOWER down the hill to the FERRY BUILDING

Ferry Building

A day is not complete without some ice cream.  Your best bets are Ghiradelli’s, Bi-Rite Creamery, or Humphry Slocombe’s Ice Cream.   Since I have been to the first two a few times, Humphry’s it was.

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
Named after two main characters from the British 1970’s sitcom “Are You Being Served”.  More importantly and interestingly, they make all their own ice cream, sorbets, and toppings with all the best ingredients.  Here’s to the best bold flavors for your pleasure!

SF Ice Cream Flavors“Secret Breakfast” – one of its more popular flavors (condensed milk, kosher salt, and vanilla beans, mixed with bourbon and crunchy cornflake cookies)

~ Limoncello ~ Tahitian Vanilla ~ Black Sesame ~Jesus Juice (red wine + cola) ~ Brown Sugar Fennel ~Vietnamese Coffee ~ POG Sorbet (one of my favorite!!)

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After sampling our fair share of the flavors, we selected the horchata and Harvey Milk & Honey Graham.  If you still are wavering between flavors, check out Serious-Eat’s take on the ice cream.  Our eyes may have been bigger than our stomachs but we finished the heaping two-scoop treat and were full for hours.

From hiking to eating to hiking, it was a perfect whirlwind of a trip.

IMG_5966One last look at the city in the bay and certainly a unique view at that. You can even spot the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, still covered by Karl the Fog.

“San Francisco is a world to explore. It is a place where the heart can go on a delightful adventure. It is a city in which the spirit can know refreshment every day.” – William Saroyan

Nickel & Dime, Shaving Money & Time‏

A new month is here and for some it means the start of a new school year. A time for books, clothes, and maybe even a new computer. For those of us who aren’t heading back to the classroom, it’s still a change in the season and for me a way to reboot my goals for the month. A bit of a challenge to look at my expenditures, workout habits, and eats.

When I decided to move to new York last year, I did my best to create a budget. I vividly remember my dad sitting down with me at the corner restaurant listing out what might be some worthy categories. Now that I’ve lived here for a year, I can honestly tell you I did not stick to my budget. I was caught up in the city, enamored by Kate Spade, and loved baking for co-workers. Not to say that I regret any of it, but there were and are some ways to be smarter about living the young adult life, especially in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Here are some tips and tricks, with the inspiration of the Dollar Shave Club, to keep more money in your pocket key while still having a good time

  • Brunch - Everyone here loves brunch, but when meals can cost you up to $17-$30/meal, your wallet may not be smiling after awhile.
    • Try making your own brunch – invite friends to bring their favorite dishes
    • Purchasing a bottle of prosecco for $10.99 will most definitely leave you smiling instead of the $10.99 glass you will be served out.
    • Split entrees — If you are like me and this is not your first meal of the day, it may be smart to split with a friend
  • Groceries – learn which grocery stores provide the most bang for your buck. This could mean shopping in the bulk section for shampoo or even picking up produce from the veggie man on the street corner. Sure, you will have to decide whether you are going all-organic and want to solely buy from whole foods, but they aren’t known as “whole paycheck” for nothing. — meal plan and make your breakfasts and lunches for the week ahead of time. This will not only save you from the $12+ salad lines, but help keep your diet healthy

OVERNIGHT OATS

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SALAD IN A JAR

jar2Bsalad2B2 (source)

  • Divide up the goods among roommates/housemates – sharing may not be useful all the time, but if you both tend to use the same product and don’t nickel and dime each other out of the apartment, then give it a shot!
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee – Sure it seems cheap, an iced coffee for $2 here and there, but it sure adds up!  Test out your own cold brew or iced coffee/tea at home (tips and tutorial to come)

iced coffee (source)

  • Pack your meal and work/gym bag the night before –  This will save you plenty of time in the morning, prevent you (hopefully) from searching for this and that and instead allow you to roll out of bed and go.
  • Clothes & Hygiene – invest in products that will last and won’t give your body grief.  I have purchased my fair share of cheap tank-tops, toothbrushes, and razors, thinking I was saving money, but ultimately I spent more trying to replace them.  I’m not saying you need to break the bank, but putting some care into your daily routine could definitely help you down the line.

Which brings me to Dollar Shave Club, a company that I recently discovered and love the idea of.  Basically, you select a razor and pay a small monthly fee, and they send the replacement blades to your place!  How convenient is that?  These days with grocery shopping online, Seamless food delivery in NYC, and now shaving blades, you would never have reason to leave your apartment?  Obviously I place a high emphasis on cleaning because I have razor blades up there with food and well, food. :)  Check it out and you may be surprised at what tricks you pick up along the way!

No compensation was given for this post, just my desire to find the best and most fun products for your enjoyment.

 How do you manage to save time and money?

Celebrating Good Times in NYC

Well folks, a year has come and gone and today happens to be my 1 year anniversary of living in the big ‘ol apple aka one of the craziest cities in the country (if not world), and yes, I’m still loving life.  There honestly are times where I have to stop and simply take a look around to fully understand how I got here.

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There were ups and downs and I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is, but I don’t think I have been this confident or happy in years.  I’m still in the midst of those crazy mid-twenties, where you don’t really know where home is, where you might meet your friends or if you even have friends in your new town.  Well, arriving one year ago today, I didn’t really know a single soul in the city.  Ok, not true.  I knew people but that was mainly through my internship.  No family, no friends, and no stability.  I was put to the test and I like to think that this sink or swim mentality helped me thrive.

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I saw it as an opportunity to break free from my insecurities and show people the person I wanted to be.  I stopped stressing as much.  I wasn’t as high strung.  Instead, I took my love for exploring and working hard and went to town (but really).

I enjoyed my first official fall filled with changing leaves and all the pumpkin one could hope for. (Also to realize how obsessed the blogger world is with pumpkin…yours truly included.  I refuse to start this year until October 1st but more on that later).

IMG_3914When my sorority big sister, Mary, came to visit :)

I started the fall with an internship and soon found myself in my first full-time job.  Not only was it my first job out of college, but it was at a very well respected company with an even better cohort and management team.

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Poor quality picture and a bit old but I truly have lucked out here

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I survived my first winter (fingers crossed as the worst) with one helluva lot of snow.

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I ran a half marathon (and almost PR’d) through crazy 20mph winds and wind chill of 9F.

IMG_1414_FotorI served as a tour guide for a few of my friends and family.  Meghan here – putting on a brave face in January (note that it was probably the warmest day of January, and possibly winter, on this day)

IMG_2185Making some of the best friends through blogging

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I realized how magical spring can be with the return of the warm days, seaside races (AND a PR!), and blossoming flowers.

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I found new places to run, but always returning to my favorites – Central Park, the Highline, and the East River Trail.

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I made friends (mostly due to my friend Laura’s amazing networking skills) in the city.

IMG_2937These are just a few but there are so many more.  We go out, we explore, we eat, we run, we chill at home, but most of all, we have fun.

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Then there was summer where I bounced up and down the coast, experienced a few freak rain storms, some humidity, and some oddly cool weather.

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Took advantage of every free concert possible – between the Today Show’s Concert Series at Rockefeller Plaza and ABC’s Music in Central Park.

IMG_4870I dove into yet another club, November Project, and love it.  Let’s hope the 5:30am wakeup calls don’t do me in (that or the soon to be chilly weather).

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But all in all, I made it. I made it when some people questioned how this California gal could. And I’m not done. No, not just yet.  The lease is signed for at least one more year and as I usually tell people, I’m not unhappy, so why change what’s not broken?  With so many new friends, hobbies, and activities, the options for the future are endless.

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“You have to go whole heartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Happy Labor Day from the Pacific Northwest!

I hope everyone is enjoying their day (off or not) and celebrating some of the last wonderful memories of summer.

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More to come on my west coast adventures but for now, take a break from technology and go outside and play!

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
– Annie Dillard