Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Holy hiatus! I never planned to be away from the blog this long, but life got in the way. Things have been busy with the holidays, of course, and working in retail made my days even busier. And yet I can't believe it is the last day of the year! I still have so much I'd like to share here, and I am committed to doing just that in 2016. A new year means new goals and renewed focus, and I'm excited to welcome new adventures and tackle new challenges as well. For now, I'm sending my love and best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous New Year!

I'll leave you with a peek at this year's Christmas card (from Minted), which featured 12 photo highlights from 2015 on the back. Can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us!

Hello New Year postcard by Lucille Michieli
found via Pinterest

Friday, November 20, 2015

Explore New York : The Met Rooftop

Enjoying a glass of rosé wine atop the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, overlooking Central Park, has been a must-do on my NYC bucket list ever since I read about it as a "kind of" secret way to spend a late afternoon in the city. Of course, I'd envisioned going up to the roof on a warm summer day but with the hubby's busy and erratic schedule the last few months we weren't able to make it happen until it was almost too late. The Roof Garden Cafe and Bar is only open May through October, weather permitting, and we went on the second to last Saturday in October. Fortunately, while there was a bit of a chill in the air, it was a beautiful fall day in the Manhattan.

The skies were clear and the rooftop was nowhere near as crowded as I'm sure it is during the summer months, providing G and I with uninhibited panoramic views of the city skyline and the park below, the foliage blooming in autumn's trademark fiery hues. Despite the cold weather, I still had that (expensive) glass of rosé while the hubs sipped on suds from Brooklyn Brewery. While we did take a quick look at the somewhat odd and not exactly aesthetically pleasing Roof Garden exhibition by Pierre Hughe (this New York Times article explains the meaning behind it much better than I could), our main focus was watching the sky change from day to night behind that famous NYC skyline. Seeing the skyscrapers light up, in all their sparkle, as the world dims is always a little thrill.

A few more photos from our trip, if you'd like to see.

On our way back down from the roof, we took some time to peruse the artI couldn't help but stop when I spied pieces by Monet and Van Goghbut a return trip is most certainly in order.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Explore New York : Chelsea Market

When the hubs and I set out to walk The High Line, our end goal was Chelsea Market, conveniently located right along the line between 15th and 16th streets in the Meatpacking District. A former coworker in California, who had recently visited New York, encouraged me to check out the bustling indoor marketplace filled with shops, eateries, grocers and more. My friend said I'd love it, and she was right.

Having just walked about 25 blocks, our first stop was for refreshment. At a wine bar, naturally. G and I cozied up at a table inside Corkbuzz Wine Studio and promptly ordered two glasses of wine (rosé for me) and some simple but tasty apps: a baguette with absolutely divine herbed goat milk butter and a bowl of castelvetrano olives. Satiated, we went out to explore the market.

We strolled through Spices and Tease, astounded by the massive selection of spice blends, herbs and teas and enchanted by all their beautiful colors. A true foodie's paradise, it really gets your culinary creative juices flowing thinking of all the ways you can use and cook with the various salts and spices.

Next up was a spin around The Lobster Place, a wholesale/retail fish market that, in addition to live lobsters from Maine, is stocked with all kinds of fresh fish and seafood chilling on ice. If only we lived in NYC, this would be our go-to fishmonger. (Probably wouldn't make any friends on the subway or bus if we tried to bring the fresh catch home!)

Luckily, we could take home some goodies from The Filling Station. This small shop is just a joy to visit. You walk in and you're surrounded by dozens of metal casks filled with specialty oils and vinegars in unique flavors, with little cups ready and waiting for your sampling pleasure. Same goes for a variety of exotic salts. After taking in the inventory and tasting to our hearts' (and tongues'!) content, we selected a bottle of tangy-and-sweet grapefruit white balsamic vinegarperfect for dressing saladsand a jar of beautiful maroon-hued merlot salt. (The hubby loves his merlot!)

Of course we couldn't help but make a quick pit stop at Chelsea Wine Vault. Quick because otherwise we likely would have brought too many bottles home! I left with a cute wine sweater that looks like a football (similar) for G and a bottle of White Girl Rosé for me, simply because it made me laugh.

With the market about to close but feeling like we needed more to eat, we ended our visit the same way it began: with wine and appetizers, this time at what turned out to be a fancy (read: pricey) Italian eatery, Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina. Even though the restaurant looked stunning inside, I opted for us to dine al fresco to see the sparkle of the city lights and the people passing by. 

G and I shared crispy speck and zucchini bruschetta (the freshness of the zucchini did a good job of balancing out of the saltiness of the speck, but I wished the bread wasn't sliced into such a thick slab) and G polished off the prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano fritters, since while they looked golden and delicious they were also extremely cheesy inside (and if you know me, I'm not a big cheese fan).

A return visit to Chelsea Market is definitely a must since, although we passed by it on our way in, we didn't get a chance to circle back before closing time and pop into Artists & Fleas, a space filled with local indie makers selling their unique goods and wares. I'd also love to check out the oyster bar Cull & Pistol, grab a crispy oatmeal chip cookie at the famous Eleni's New York and maybe even a Nutella and banana crepe (my favorite combination) at Bar Suzette

One thing is certain: when you visit Chelsea Market, you will never go hungry!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Explore New York : The High Line

A week after sharing my summer bucket list I was able to happily cross one item off the list: strolling along The High Line in NYC! 

Thanks to the work of community preservationists, the historic, out-of-use 1930s freight rail line was converted into a gorgeously designed and landscaped linear park, with the first section opening to the public in June 2009. Elevated above the busy and bustling city streets on Manhattan's West Side, it is most certainly the scenic route to take when needing to get around the Chelsea neighborhood.

North to south The High Line runs from W. 34th Street at Hudson Yards to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, between 10th and 12th avenues. After a quick walk from Port Authority, G and I got on the line at 34th Street (though, the Hudson Yards section was closed that day due to maintenance) and sauntered all the way to 16th Street, where we got off to explore Chelsea Market. (More on that later.) It was a muggy (read: frizz-inducing), late August day and the line was fairly busy; the park in the sky is no secret. But the suspended walkwaywith its garden vibes, art installations, and surrounding mash-up of architectural stylesis a pleasant and more visually appealing alternative to the city streets below.

Now a few photos from our stroll, if you'd like to see.

Though I'm glad to have accomplished this bucket list item, I'd love to return again and walk the entire line. We had about five more blocks to go to get to Gansevoort Street, which, as it turns out, is where the Whitney Museum of American Art is located. I see another day trip in our future!

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