Thursday, June 30, 2011

on the rock.

this one is for all you tourists out there. i know the empire state building is considered the.place.to.go. i get  it, i get it. i mean, hell, this is the empire state! you have to go. but i beg you to reconsider. or, if it's your second time in the city, definitely reconsider. i present - the top of the rock.
via here.
i know, i know. you think i'm biased. i work in 30 rock and am trying to "represent" as the kids say these days. but the views of downtown manhattan are stunning. the empire state building may be more famous, but the top of the rock easily and handily beats the views. and if the view of the park can't convince you, i don't know what can.
via here.
you can barely see the park from the empire state building. from the top of the rock you get a glimpse into why those apartments on central park south cost so much. perhaps my bias may come from a few of my own favorite memories that i created there.
the first time he came to visit me in the city.
so come to new york and make your own. you won't regret it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

on spain.

two years ago at this time i was discovering spain in the summer. after i graduated, my good friend whom i met on a study abroad program in college joined me on adventures around the globe. every place we went was amazing, but spain really blew me away. perhaps it was because we didn't expect much - you know, it was kind of like "yeah, spain, why not. i've heard good things". but oh. spain. it was glorious. as a city girl, it didn't take long for me to fall in love with madrid.
summer hair. curly. messy. undone.
i would run early in the mornings, as everyone was coming home from the clubs (it was spain!), in the perfect june weather and take it all in. the running was necessary after all the delicious food, and, yes, for a taste of home, mcdonald's ice cream.
many days were spent leisurely going around the city, shopping, viewing art, eating. the nights were perfect for the summer - long and wine-filled. the city easily let you slip into being part of it's everyday. i knew by the time we left madrid a long love affair with this country was starting.
we got 5 free limoncello shots at lunch. each. cuz that's how they lunch in spain. this ridiculous picture is the aftermath.
our next stop was granada, and it was there that i knew spain would always be at the top of my list. the alhambra is, quite simply, breathtaking. it's perfection and attention to detail knows no bounds. the hills and winding roads seem to never end, not that you would want them too. wandering around the city at night you may stumble onto a full-blown orchestra in the square, playing beloved theme songs from movies we all know and love. it literally seemed as if the city was magic. 
and after a long night, what better way to wake up than churros con chocolate?
i loved this part of the spain trip (barcelona i have conflicting feelings on, so we'll leave that out). i always think of going and recreating that trip every summer, which is not entirely possible.
looking out over granada from the alhambra.
but lord knows i'd try.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

on success.

so guess what guys?! the beach at queens was a success!!! clean, not too crowded, we got to go swimming for an hour. and bonus - yummy tacos by the beach!
rockaway tacos. 
 the only bad thing was that it took about an hour and a half to get there. so obviously on the way home we broke out the chips and salsa. i felt like it was a bit weird, but whatevs, we were hungry.
someone cut his hair...
 to end our summery day i had my first glass of sangria for the season. i have been embracing summer so much after our long and extremely bitter winter here in nyc. no complaints about heat, humidity and crowded subways from me (yet). have you gotten to be summery this season?

Monday, June 27, 2011

on distressed decor.

i don't have much to decorate in my humble little abode, but a style i'm always pulled towards is that of distressed, farmhousey type furniture and decorations. show me anything that looks a hundred years old and i get all googly eyed. i long for the day when i can live in spaces like these...
via here.
via here.
love the decorated mantle. via here.
or get to decorate with bright whites and fresh flowers...
via here.
via here.
via here.
but mostly, i just want a farmhouse kitchen. i don't need every room in a future home i own to be like this - in fact, i wouldn't want that at all. but decorations here and there that reflect it would be nice. but my kitchen? no question, it will draw inspiration from these and be in this style. walnut countertops, white, bright, airy and open. one day, i hope, one day.
the countertops. i heart them so bad. via here.
brick wall. wooden countertop island. two ovens. yes, yes, and yes. via here.
via here.
love the nook. via here.
 so it was with great fanfare that i finally got this little puppy to tidy up my "living room" and create more storage for myself. baby steps i like to tell myself. baby steps.
via this etsy shop.


Friday, June 24, 2011

on the beaches of queens.

did you know they have beaches in queens? and brooklyn? well, they do. and it's the best this girl can afford. it's easy to forget that manhattan is an island. and that queens and brooklyn are the start of long island, meaning that they have beaches. not the north carolina beaches of my youth, but they will do.
so this begs the question peeps - are you a beach person or a mountain person? (it's kind of confusing how this question came about. how did we narrow it down to two types of places out of the many that are out there? it really makes very little sense. and yet here i am, asking the question anyway). i am most definitely a beach person. the sand. the sun. the ocean. the salt water. the beachy hair. i love it. ever since i was little girl i have loved going to the beach. (let's hope this beach in queens doesn't change those feelings). mountains are, for sure, without a doubt, not my jam. bugs. hikes (oh GOD don't get me started on the atrocity of hikes). poison ivy. i mean, have you seen deliverance?! no. no, no, no. mountains are not for me. now, living in tennessee i had a few weekends here and there in a mountain cabin. sure, the sunset was pretty. the air was fresh in the morning. the mist rising from the valley was inspiring. but the minute that sun was completely up? you can bet your sweet ass i made it down to the lake as quickly as possible. it may not exactly be the beach, but it's the closest you get in a landlocked state.
so - peeps? what is it for you - beaches or mountains?
i'll let you know how my beach day in queens goes. it should be a grand adventure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

on familiarity.

new things are exciting. new restaurants. new stores. new cities. new loves. new apartments. there's so much possibility, new things to discover and so many new memories to be made. but everything new grows old. it always has. it always will. so if you can't appreciate the old and familiar, your life is going to be a tough row to hoe (not that i'm a farmer or anything, but from what i hear, some rows are indeed harder than others).
so i can't wait for friday night when my old man comes to town. we have a friday night tradition that's come about from traveling to see one another and getting in late on fridays. it involves pizza and a movie (if the boy comes here) or a criminal intent marathon (if i go there).
sidenote: do you watch criminal intent?
if not you should.
it's the bombdotcom.
we almost always get the same pizza. half black olive (for her) and half pepperoni (for him). we get it from the same pizza place here in nyc, and at the same pizza place up near him. it's nice. it's reliable. it's familiar. it's the farthest thing from new and exciting that you can get - it's the definition of a routine. as more time goes by and more routines are developed, you start to realize that there are many firsts you'll never have again. a first kiss. a first date. anticipation and excitement about what's around the corner. the sense of possibility in wondering if this could be something great. sometimes we fall into the familiar and fail to remember that we're past the possibility and actually a part of something great. and even if other firsts don't come quite as quickly and breathtaking as those in the beginning, there are many more waiting to happen. perhaps it's even better to say that those moments waiting to happen are more significant and meaningful firsts then those that came at the start. but as we wait for those to come along we have the familiar. and the familiar, well, it's not so bad. and i know i can't wait for my familiar friday night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

on skipping the dance floor.

remember how i said there's everything somewhere? like a great meal to eat, or a great store to hit up, blah blah blah. i mean...i know you guys remember every nugget of wisdom that comes out of my mouth, but in case you didn't i just wanted to set the scene again.
let it be known: i have naturally curly hair. we are now officially besties my little internet pals.
on the day i went down to visit i stumbled across this article on new york magazine's website, my daily source of news. the timing could not have been better as that was pretty much the town i was headed to. i insisted we check out the burger here, and my friend and her pals were game. and boy oh boy. that shit was off the hook. it's basically like someone took a filet mignon, decided to grind it up, and immediately grill it. it came with a red wine au jus sauce on the side and that's all you needed. seriously, perfection.
of course mine came sans cheese. i'm not a foul cheese lover like the rest of ya'll.
tragically, the night took a sour turn when we tried to continue the fun by going out to dance but couldn't when we realized we had eaten too much and were pretty much lethargic (we did try though. a for effort). sad, but true. and also delicious.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

on this or that.

pretty sure this would seal the deal.
so the past weekend i was down in north carolina with my friend, who happened to move there from nyc. and we couldn't help but talk about how different life is in cities outside of new york, particularly in the south, a place i have often felt a certain pull towards.
things are more affordable.
living spaces are bigger.
the air is cleaner.
there is a lot lacking in comparison to new york, of course, but i often feel i can get caught up in all of that. it's when you take a breather from it that you realize how much else there can be in different places, too (i mean, if a place has a nordstrom and a trader joe's then i'll be cool with it. because let's get real, those are all my requirements at the end of the day. even new york doesn't have a nordstrom). i feel constantly faced with the dilemma of staying or going. i mean, not an imminent dilemma. i know that new york is the place to be for myself and my career for the next few years. but i often think of trying to make my life easier here - essentially, more livable - and how hard that could be. when you get outside of the city you get a taste of how much else there is, and how it would be so easy to leave. or so i like to tell myself. perhaps that's always at the root of my and others' great love affair with new york. she doesn't make it easy. she doesn't make it cheap. she makes you work really, really hard to live a good life here. and i don't think i would ever say it wasn't worth it, and that every minute here wasn't worth the blood, sweat and tears it takes to keep that love alive. it's just that sometimes, sometimes, i feel that pull for the simpler life. the life with doors on bedrooms. the life with shared margaritas by the community pool.
and then i fly back home and a slow smile building on my face as the city skyline comes into view, and i remember that this place is my home. this majestic, wonderful, magical city is the place i call home and that, quite frankly, is more than enough for now.
do you ever feel caught up between two different places to live? two different regions? two different lifestyles that are options for you?

Monday, June 20, 2011

on the the joys of traveling.

naturally, my flights were delayed in both directions. now, this wasn't as bad as it could be, as my phone updated me and i got to stay at my apartment (on the way down), and hang out with my friend more (on the way back), but boy am i tired. so i don't have much for you today, except proof that i had a fun weekend.
orange juice without champagne is like a burger without fries. it just doesn't feel right.
the empty bottle of skinny girl margarita would also have proven this too.
i hope ya'll had lovely weekends!

Friday, June 17, 2011

on friendly vacations.

well i'm headed back down south again this weekend. and you can bet i'm bringing these bad boys.
i'm headed to north carolina to visit a good friend from high school. we got to spend one year together in new york before she moved there for graduate school, and i'm so excited to see her.
a few years ago i read a blog post about vacations. we often set our sights high, saving our pennies for a wine vacation in napa valley, some fun in the sun in florida, or a parisian adventure. we forget that when we're young and penniless, the most affordable vacations can be those spent visiting our friends. while i wouldn't advocate shacking up with them for a week, it doesn't get much better than a long weekend spent with a friend. some of the locales may not be as exotic as others, but with words like "foodie" and "fashion blogger" part of our everyday vocab, we know that there's something grand to eat everywhere, a new store somewhere filled with goodies we love, and history and sights to be seen in all places. essentially - each place has it's own experience to offer. no matter where it might be. so i've made it a plan to try and visit my friends in all the places they are, no matter if the city was on my "must-see" list or not. i've got friends in colorado, a state i've never frequented, and from which i've only heard good things. i visited my friend in jackson hole, wyoming, last year, a trip that completely floored me with it's natural beauty, but of course involved debauchery that she and i would get into anywhere, no matter the place. lisa, my bestest, is in huntsville, al. i hadn't heard of it until she moved there, but i've seen a restaurant from there profiled in food and wine, i've heard fabulous stories about the locals from her, and i know the bar-be-que is good down there! i've got friends in texas, or about to move to texas, a state i've never seen. and texas is like it's own country! i've got to get there soon to take it all in.
so off i go to north carolina. a state i've been to many times, but mostly just for the beach. this time i'll be eating some wonderful bar-be-que (seriously, this is becoming the summer of bar-be-que. i'm kind of excited about it). i've got a list of stores that are consistently ranked among the top vintage stores in the country that i want to peek into. and my friend has a pool, around which we hope to lay around, sharing margaritas and stories from the past few months. and the best thing about all of this is that i get to do these things with an amazing friend, who missed me enough to invite me down, and i missed her enough to buy my ticket right after she encouraged the visit. and that is really what makes the trip special.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

on running.

via here.
so running is my thing. and in that, i mean to say that's it's my chosen form of exercise (and not that i'm a great runner). i go to a few classes at the gym every week, but mostly you'll find me running. and tonight i was lucky enough to enjoy a run in central park as part of the jp morgan corporate challenge. i don't live near the park and i've never motivated myself to get there for a run, so i was excited. sure, a picnic here and there may take place, but i don't really take advantage of central park and all it has to offer. and it is literally amazing. beautiful. pretty. serene. you really do forget that you're in manhattan. i knew this from the few times i've been in the park, but my run tonight made me realize i need to get there more often. i saw a lot of things on the run that made me pause and appreciate the day. from the beautiful old trees to everyone walking their dogs to the little kids giving out high fives to the runners and everything in between. but nothing impressed me quite as much as this.
aimee mullins running. via here.

a runner flying past me with one prosthetic running foot. my mouth just dropped open. it was crazy to see in person (and may have caused me to speed up for a little bit. just a little, though). has anyone else seen this before? it completely blew me away. inspiring to say the least.
do you have a favorite exercise or way to get outside and enjoy the area you live in?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

on inventive desserts.

one of the most innovative desserts i've ever had has been in this fair city. and with my sweet tooth, i'm always up for trying out a new dessert. behold: the toasted marshmellow milkshake.
it is crazy good people. cray.zee.good. and it tastes *exactly* like toasted marshmellows, which is quite a feat. shortly before i moved here i watched an episode of the "the best thing i ever ate" on the food network, and it happened to be one on desserts. the chef michael chiarello picked this dessert as his best...and then proceeded to drink three in a row. kind of disgusted by him. kind of in awe of him. but with a recommendation like that, i knew i'd have to try it once i moved to new york. naturally, i wasn't disappointed (to be fair though, i've only been disappointed by dessert once in my life. so i'm pretty hard to disappoint in that department).
the burgers and fries are pretty good at this place, too. but the next time you're in nyc and near union square, even if you don't want lunch or dinner, be sure to stop here and find some room in your stomach for it. this dessert is so unique and out of this world, you have to try it. maybe you'll even try three.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

on food festivals.

so, um, i accidentally ate bar-be-que for breakfast again this weekend. twice.
ribs from martinsville, va. home state represent!
this past weekend was the big apple bbq, about a hop, skip and a jump away from my apartment. is there anything more amazing then walking out of your new york city apartment and smelling bar-be-que from the world champions in your local park?! let me tell you that answer succinctly - no.
the boy and i had a blast eating out way through the various booths on saturday, and even got my parents to join in on the action on sunday. obviously, i made sure to dress for the occasion.
sandwich via south carolina.
vendors come from all over for the big apple bbq. it's quite amazing to be in the middle of nyc and sampling the best bar-be-que in the country from virginia, south carolina, georgia, mississippi, alabama, tennessee and missouri. and yes, i'm sure the list goes on.
our strategy was to go to the booths with smaller lines before trying to make a run at the big boys. that's right, the world champion bar-be-que winners happened to be there. we waited forty minutes for their sandwich. tell me alabama readers (i know you're out there!), was big bob's worth it?!
look at that knife! that's what she said.
all told, i ate two servings of ribs and four pulled pork sandwiches this past weekend. it's kind of disgusting. and i'm kind of proud of it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

on joy.

so today is the big reveal. as you probably figured out on friday, my good friend amy got engaged!!! i am so beyond thrilled for her.
please note the amazing new bling.
a few of us were in on the secret plans for six weeks! that is like, way too long to keep a secret from your best friend. but somehow, i did it. amy was under the impression that our other friend, o'neill, was coming to the city for work, but would fly out on friday to enjoy the weekend with us in nyc. o'neill works for a small start-up where it's not unusual for them to stay in nice hotels in exchange for the fact that aren't getting paid a lot, so o'neill said she was staying in the waldorf. and amy believed her. in actuality, amy's boyfriend was staying there - and when she knocked on "o'neill's" door, her boyfriend gave her the surprise of a lifetime. the following night a few of us had dinner with them to celebrate the big news.
pasta, prosecco, cupcakes, wine. it was the perfect celebration. amy is a very dear friend, and i know her love life has not always been rainbows, diamonds and fancy hotels. seeing her with someone that will care for her and love her forever, and knowing all she's been through, is so heart-warming. as i'm sure many of us feel about our friends, i think she's amazing and i think she deserves that. all in all, it was a pretty great weekend. but when you start off with a surprise like that, it's hard for it not to be.

Friday, June 10, 2011

on surprises.

so. a big surprise happens today. like, big. and i am pumped about it. i mean, first, i've had to keep it a secret. and finally, tonight, the secret is revealed. and second, let's just say it involves diamonds, my best friend. and on monday i'll be able to share alllll the fun news with you. (and no, these diamonds would not be for me, because then it wouldn't be a surprise. so don't get too excited). however, this does lead me to the topic of surprises.
via here.
i love them.
like, i love them so hard. i think they are the best things ever.
however, i am also a master detective. and i love being a master detective, too. so while i love surprises, i expect you to hide them from me really well. for example (a shameful, shameful example), when i was ten, i found all of my christmas presents and unwrapped them to see what they were and then carefully wrapped them back up. i also showed the stash to my sister and encouraged her to look at a few.
sigh. i was like the eve to her adam.
naturally, what i thought was sneaky was actually not and my mom and dad quickly figured out that someone had unwrapped the gifts and tried to tape them back up. to say the least, i got in trouble. a lot of trouble. yet as an ardent lover of christmas (i still believe in the magic of santa, i will explain in december), i scolded my parents on their poor christmas performance. if they were taking the holiday seriously, they would have gone to greater lengths to hide all the gifts from me! a closet?!? i mean, why don't you just put them under the tree and call it a day!
shockingly, they did not buy this argument.
however, they did let me keep my discman*. so that was pretty sweet.
anyhoo, all this talk about surprises and christmas leads me to share with you guys my favorite surprise. it happened when i was in second grade. i woke up to...a bike under the christmas tree.
via here.
the quintessential childhood christmas gift. it came with a big red bow on it and everything. i hadn't specifically asked for a bike, so this was even a bigger surprise. i mean, who could ask for something so big and so grand?! so my joy and awe and gratefulness on that christmas morning knew no bounds. it's one of my few crystal clear memories from early childhood. i just fell head over heels for that bike. it was a huffy covered in neon leopard print, i kid you not. (those are the kind of bikes you get when your mom's an italian from long island). i'm sure that amazing christmas morning led to my love of surprises, and with good reason. it was one of the most magical days of my life.
so, my dear, dear readers, what has been one of your favorite surprises? i'd love to hear about it, especially since i am a surprise addict.

*lol, a discman?!?!?! those to used to exisit?!?!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

on a favorite movie.

i have many favorite movies, as i'm sure ya'll do, too. however, i do have a top five. and more importantly, within my top five i really do have a soft spot for one in particular. the godfather. (or, the godfather trilogy, which we can consider one movie. but you shouldn't let me get away with that. that's cheating.)
via here.
i love this movie. and i mean l.o.v.e. in the words of ashlee simpson. in fact, i have developed a very precise method on how one should conduct a godfather marathon.
1. watch part I.
2. order chinese food for lunch.
3. watch part II.
4. eat homemade lasagna (thanks mom!)
5. watch part III.
6. eat cannolis.
7. discuss.
(i should patent this shit).
via here.
i like most mob movies - perhaps it stems from my italian mother and the extremely memorable family reunion she took us to on long island as a little girl (two words: leopard print) - but this movie obviously sets the standard. and as summer begins and racing season draws even closer up in saratoga, i'm reminded of one of my favorite pictures i took last year. you see, saratoga is a horse town. and they find many ways to incorporate that into everything there, including cakes. so without further ado, please let me introduce...the horseheadcupcakecake (say that three times fast).
the boy and i got these for every summer birthday that occurred last summer, including mine, naturally.
we named him harry.
this cake, paired up with my love for the godfather, clearly led to this photo op.
my nails also look pretty great in this pic.
if you have seen the godfather, you get it.
so - what's your favorite movie?
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