Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Much Needed Vacation

The View from our Backyard 
Just as Hurricane Debby was making her way to through the seas, I was boarding a plane for family vacation.  Our destinations were the same...the Florida Coast.

You may remember last year our family of nine were Living like the Longstockings in the Villa Villekula.  Well this year we traded our St. Augustine destination for a beach-front property on Jacksonville Beach.  Unlike some of our neighbors, I'm glad to say our nautically-themed home has kept its power.  Really, the only complaint we can make is the harsh winds and pesky rain kept us from  grilling burgers.

The overcast skies have been just perfect for my far too fair skin.  Despite a floppy sun hat and constant reapplication of SPF 100, I usually leave my week at the beach looking like a lobster.  But if the sun stays hidden behind those ever-looming rain clouds, I may escape this year only slightly pink.

And, no beach retreat would be complete without a steamy romance novel.  The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has proven itself to be the prefect page turner as I lounge in a squatty chair with my feet in the sand.

And seeing as how I love to document everything, I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures as a thunderstorm was rolling in this morning:
My sister's the designated shell collector, but the treasures the tide's been bringing in even have me stopping. 
Besides the usual shells, the waves have also been decorating the shore with a strange foam.  Its bubbly consistantcey reminds me of something found atop a frothy beverage.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My New York: Harlem

Even Justin Bieber can be found in Harlem.
He Performed at The Apollo Theatre
on Monday Night.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...New York above Lincoln Center is a total mystery to me.  I'd seen Harlem in movies, but before yesterday, I'd never actually ridden the subway all the way up there.  For NBC's Taxi TV there's a segment called "My New York" were noteworthy locals share their favorite neighborhood.  As I'm sure you've guessed, Harlem was the selected spot yesterday.

We started at Red Rooster between 125th and 126th on Lenox.  The decor is so quirky, and I hear the Sunday brunch is delicious.

Next, we went to the Studio Museum. They've just added the most amazing gallery.  In fact, just a few weeks ago one new painting whose main medium is glitter and high lighter pink paint made the cover of The New York Times style section.  So seeing it upclose (without actually having to pay the admission price) was great.

After a stop off at a local book store, we headed to El Augilia on 116th between 2nd and 3rd. According to our celebrity guide, this is Harlem's Mexican district. All the advertisements are in Spanish and the native flag hangs everywhere.  One elderly woman was making cakes on a griddle outside her storefront, and sidewalk markets were filled with exotic fruits.  But what would the district be without its taquerias?  We sampled chips sided with guacamole and the most delicious tacos too.

Delicious Lunch for Less Than $5! 
Sure, Harlem's a little bit of a hike, but it's certainly the place to visit if you're looking to try something of the beaten path.  Plus, Central Park isn't too far, so if you're craving green, you'd be able to make a day out of it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Kids Are Growing Up

 For today's weekend adventure, I had to be up and out of Lafayette a little earlier than usual-10am to be exact.  Along with a few of the Summer Assistants, I had my first official Sunday brunch in New York City.  Our planned place wasn't open quite as early as we'd hoped for, so we ended up at Cafe Select.  Twinkling white lights hang from the ceiling; black and white artwork adorns the walls, and soft, sweet music plays in the background.  Located between Spring and Broom St. on Lafayette, this quaint little restaurant is just perfect if you're hoping for a Soho selection that won’t break the bank. 

As with all great brunches, the meal began with a round of mimosas.  I ordered the most delicious pancakes too.  Served with raspberry jelly, vanilla butter, and warm syrup, I can't believe they were only $12. 

Seriouslly, this picture doesn't do these Pancakes Justice! So delicious!
But more than the food, it was the great conversations we had that ensure it won’t be a morning I'll soon forget.  It's weird to think about, but we really are growing up.  We're becoming people who contemplate our not-so-far-off-futures.  We're people who eat brunch, even if it's not from a dorm dining hall. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dinner With the Dormouse

Picture a place with glittery butterflies hanging from the ceiling, mismatched china decorating the table, and the words of Lewis Carroll lining the wall...what you've got is Alice's Tea Cup.  Nestled on the corner of 64th and Lexington, this quaint little tea house is the perfect spot for a light dinner with friends.

Last night (after grabbing a quick cupcake from Sprinkles), Joanna, Jamie, and I set out to try the cozy restaurant for our biweekly girls get-together.

Served with Handmade-Raspberry Preserve and
Fresh Cream, their Scone was so Tasty 
The cutest of menus presented their long list of beverages.  I ultimately decided on Alice's Tea, and atop my three cup pot rested a smiling Cheshire Cat.  Along with their signature pumpkin scone split three ways, it was a great starter to our grownup tea party.  For my entree, I ordered the typical ladies luncheon food:  a wheat bread sandwich stuffed with cream cheese and cucumbers.  Served with a side of french fries, all I can say is yummy!

The price isn't too steep either; my total bill only came to $23.  So, if your in the need of a cute cafe with an adorable atmosphere that wont break the bank, I'd say give Alice's Tea Cup a try.  In fact, I liked it so much that I've already made arrangements for my grandmother and mom to try it out when they visit the City later this summer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams

You can see the dripping grease.
That can only mean one thing-it's good! 

Today's Sunday adventure was quite eggs-traordinary!  I was all set to spend the afternoon reading in the park when my roommate suggested we walk over to Eldridge between Division and Canal for the annual Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival.  The block party was a perfect cross-cultural celebration of the Lower East Side's Jewish and Chinese communities.  It featured Chinese opera, klezmer music, and lots of kitchy crafts for the kiddos.  

As with all NewYork City street fairs, lots of food was available.  The $5 combo included (what else) one egg roll and one egg cream, or both could be purchased separately for $3.  Despite the too-hot-weather, I was daring and tried the egg cream...bad idea.  The ice cream melted before I'd even brought the glass to my lips.  Instead of a refreshing, cool beverage, it was more like a lukewarm, soupy mess drizzled with chocolate. Chalk it up to experience.  
But, the real highlight for me was the beautiful, hard-core 
origami creations on display in the Museum at Eldridge Street.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beauty Is Pain...Literally

The saying "Beauty is Pain" has been taken to a new extreme.  In the latest fashion spread for Bulgarian  magazine 12, six photos have garnered quite the publicity.  As per usual, gorgeous models star blankly into camera.  But along with their perfectly curled hair and ruby red lipstick, each is sporting a serious injury.  

This "Victim of Beauty" has been left with a black eye, but the other's didn't come off quite as easy:  one has a slit throat, another has her mouth ripped open, and yet another looks as though her face has been burned with acid.

Besides the obvious shock value, there's no word yet on what the editors were trying to convey.  Nonetheless, the spread makes you wonder who thinks violence against women is glamorous?  

Too see a slide show of all the photos, check out Fashionista's article here

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Last night the Yankees took on the Tampa Bay Rays, and I'm excited to say I was one of the 38,370 people who attended.  No longer will my NYU graduation be the first time I see Yankee Stadium.  Nope; I've watched a game, eaten the ballpark food,  and ridden the 4 line all the way to 161st Street.  Basically, I'm a full-fledged New York baseball fan.

After stopping off at the 7-Eleven for a few slurpees, we took the longest subway ride of our lives.  For my friend, Susan, last night was her first MLB game, so we spent the 45 minutes going over key players.  "Jeter" was written on the back of her shirt, but the five-time World Series shortstop was a complete mystery.  The only baseball player she knew was Babe Ruth. And she admitted "that's only because he has a candy bar."

Despite her lack of sports knowledge, I think she'd agree nothing says summer like an evening at the ball park.  Sure, there's the game, but more importantly, it's the only place where it's socially acceptable to pay $5.75 for a box of Cracker Jacks.

New York took the opener 7-0 and didn't concede a run until the ninth inning.  The 31-24 New York Yankees went up 2-0 in the three-game series against the Rays winning 4-1.  "New York, New York" signaled the victory.  But after three hours, Susan and I were less interested in the game and more into finishing our cheese-drizzled garlic fries.  
It may not be the healthiest dinner, but there's no denying  they're good! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sprinkles - - The Most Perfect Name for a Cupcake Shop

Delightful and Delicious:
What more could you want in
a cupcake shop? 
If you find yourself near Bloomingdales desperately in the need of dessert, look no further than Sprinkles.  Their name may be sugary sweet, but their cupcakes are the perfect combination.  After the quickest work turnaround of my life (I left NBC at 1am and had to be back in the office for an 8:30 orientation), I figured I deserved a cupcake...well make that two, but it's purely for research purposes.

Located between 60th and 61st on Lexington, just the shop's bright exterior is sure to bring a smile to your face.  From the staff shirts to the seating, cute colorful dots can't be avoided.  But let's be honest.  No one visits a bakery just for its decor; the taste is what really counts.  

Can't Go Wrong With Cupcakes
Today's flavors numbered 15, but ultimately I decided on banana.  Bittersweet chocolate frosting and their signature modern dots topped super moist, banana cake.  Plus, its cake-to-icing ratio was just the way I like it.  

But what really sets Sprinkles apart is their willingness to push the envelope.  Regardless of the day, puppy cupcakes can always be found on the menu.  They say dog's are man's best friend, so it seems only natural precious pooches would have their own flavors too.  Plus, Sprinkles has already installed the world's first Cupcake ATM in the heart of Beverly Hills.  But don't pout NewYork City cupcake addicts.  Before the summer's through, they're hoping to house one too.

But for now, the best way to curb that sweet tooth is by checking out the website's favor menu.  And if you're really feeling ambitious, Sprinkles even makes take-home cupcake mixes of their top flavors for $14 a box.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Having Lunch with Al Roker

Nope, that's not a wax figure.  It's the real Al Roker.  
Ever wonder how Al Roker came up with his signature sign off "and here's what's happening in your neck of the woods"?  Apparently, the tagline's a tribute to his grandfather who'd greet him with the saying during every visit.  And as surprising as it may seem, Al didn't aways want to be a weatherman.  He thought behind the camera work (like producing or directing) were more his style.  At least, that was the case until a weekend weather job opened up that'd pay $15 per show.  But, these tiny tidbits were just the start at today's intern luncheon.  That's right, today I dined with everybody's favorite weatherman.

I grew up watching The Today Show, so hearing him share his words of wisdom was pretty incredible.  Especially in the media industry, real success depends on how marketable you are.  You're the brand.  He learned quick America doesn't want to wakeup to find a surly weatherman.  They'd much rather see someone cracking jokes with viewers.  Don't get me wrong, he's clearly knowledgable and quite the hard worker.  The alarm goes off at 3:15am, and his head doesn't hit the pillow until 10 o'clock that night.  And, that's all without a nap.

"Try to do what you love" far that was the best piece of advice he gave.  Sure, it seems like a no-brainer.  But, with only a year left until I'm thrown into the real world, I found it quite helpful.  Many of my friends just graduated, but some are settling for the first job that comes their way.  Here, I'm agreeing with Al.  They'll be spending 40+ hours a week working.  If you ask me, that's just too much wasted time if it doesn't make them happy.

Once again, I'd just like to say best internship ever!