Toronto Girls in New York

September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

This weekend, my good (and gorgeous) friends Karen and Sarah came all the way from Toronto to hang out with me in Brooklyn!

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It was so great to finally get them here – and just in time before I’m enormously pregnant and before I have a baby to carry around on the outside of me.

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On Saturday, after Sarah got tattooed in the city, the three of us went to Smorgasburg. This has become a staple for entertaining visitors. So many food stands! So many choices! Not to mention a beautiful view of Manhattan from Brooklyn.

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After some walking, shopping, and a rest at home, next on our agenda was dinner. I tried to show them the deliciousness that is Paulie Gee’s, but we didn’t feel like waiting an hour and a half for a table so we went to the new spot River Styx instead.

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Filled with pasta and cocktails (in my case, a mocktail), I took them to Transmitter Park so they could see the nighttime view over the East River.

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Sarah loves New York so much now that she did a little show.

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We stopped at Oak & Iron for a drink since it was only half full and had a jukebox playing mostly Fleetwood Mac. Then to conclude our Franklin Street tour, we grabbed a bottle of wine at Dandelion Wine right before closing time. This apparently seems to be the best time to go as the people who work there are extra friendly and play you Neil Young songs when they find out you’re all Canadian.

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They also treated Sarah and Karen to some bourbon, which Sarah ended up taking home the rest of in her purse. Greenpoint hospitality!

Sunday was quieter, especially since Nick and I had booked a Childbirth Education class in the middle of the afternoon before we knew we were going to have visitors. We still managed to have a tasty brunch and some hang outs afterwards though.

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Thank you so much for coming to visit, ladies! I haven’t laughed that much in a while. Love you <3

Bump Envy

September 23, 2013 § 4 Comments

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On Friday, I met up with the two lovely ladies behind the new NYC-centric mom and pregnancy blog Well Rounded NY, Jessica and Kaity. They were kind enough to invite me (and Henry) to their latest “Bump Envy” photo shoot at Williamsburg’s Videology where I had photos snapped by the talented Evan Gubernick and answered a few questions about my pregnancy so far.

You can read the interview here and while you’re at it, check out their feature on my yoga studio too!

An All-Brooklyn Visit

February 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

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Last weekend, our friends Julia and Jay came to visit! And you know what? We didn’t go into Manhattan ONCE!

Instead, we hung out in three different Brooklyn neighbourhoods, beginning of course, with Greenpoint for each of our brunches. We also took the East River Ferry to DUMBO, where Julia was very excited to get some treats from Jacques Torres.

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Those cookies were SO GOOD!

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We also spoiled ourselves with soaps and toiletries from West Elm Market before heading back North for dinner at Lokal. That night, all of us being very happily married thirty-somethings, we decided to stay in to watch a movie.

On Sunday, despite the chilly wind and freezing temperatures, we bundled up and went to Fort Greene to check out the indoor Brooklyn Flea.

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It was a complete madhouse, but Nick and I found a few prints for our living room! We also enjoyed some treats in the basement food court, and you can’t help but appreciate the architecture of this old building.

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Later that afternoon, I took Julia to my favourite store, Dalaga, where we both wanted the same bracelet. Obviously we had to have them and declare them “friendship bracelets”.

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Before long it was time for them to leave again, but not without promises of another visit soon. Thanks for coming and enjoying a relaxing, yet productive, Brooklyn weekend with us, guys! xoxo

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NYC + Brooklyn City Guide: Drinks

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

New York has so many bars and places to purchase alcohol, you almost don’t even need me for this category. That is, unless you have a more refined taste for drinks and want to try something new and special.

I’m primarily a beer drinker, but when I go out for drinks with friends, I like to treat myself to a well-made cocktail now and then. That’s why most of my favourites are speakeasies. Read on for my Top 6 Places to Drink in NYC!

1. Radegast Hall & Biergarten – Brooklyn

I love this old-fashioned beer hall. You’ll feel like you’re in Europe with the vast selection of beers from around the world, served in huge beer steins that you lift to your mouth with both hands. Enhance your experience by coming here a night they have a live jazz band playing and eat a pretzel and kielbasa when you’re not dancing.

2. Raine’s Law Room – Manhattan

My favourite speakeasy! Ring the doorbell for the Belgian doorman to let you know if there’s room for you, otherwise they will take your number and call you when there is. Feel like you are in Paris in the thirties while you sip your drinks slowly, enjoying the ambiance and decor of this gorgeous downstairs spot. Make sure you check out their custom-made wallpaper!

3. Pegu Club – Manhattan

My good friend Courtney first brought me here years ago. This gorgeous bar will make you feel like an Asian gangster from the sixties. Shelling out money for the Earl Grey martini will be the best decision you made that day.

4. 2nd Floor on Clinton – Manhattan

My speakeasy-finding partner Kate and I found this place one night after dinner in a noisy restaurant and were delighted to relax in this quiet, dim, and relaxing upstairs spot that makes you feel like you’re in someone’s home library. In addition to carefully-made cocktails, they also sell chocolates!

5. Beauty & Essex – Manhattan

Beauty & Essex is quite a scene, but definitely worth checking out at least once. This restaurant is “hidden” behind a pawn shop facade. The drinks are great, but pricey. Luckily, if you’re a lady, you can even out the cost by partaking in some of the free champagne served in the restrooms by beautiful bartenders (seriously!)

6. Death + Company – Manhattan

Another speakeasy that you must get past the doorman to enter. It’s small and dark, but worth the wait. If you’re a design-lover like me, you’ll appreciate everything from the custom-made coasters you get to the bar’s decor.

I couldn’t quite make it to 10 for my favourite bars, but if you have any suggestions of places I haven’t named here, please let me know! I’m always up for trying to new places :)

NYC + Brooklyn City Guide: Food

July 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Of course there are countless food options in New York (especially when you’re exploring both Manhattan and Brooklyn), but I’ve managed to pare it down a little with my current Top Ten Places To Eat. Enjoy!

1. Paulie Gees – Pizza, Brooklyn

Hands down the best pizza I’ve eaten in my life. And I’ve eaten a lot of pizza.

Bonus: Paulie himself plays host every night. He walks around the restaurant with his coffee mug, asking how your pizzas are, what you ordered, and where you’re from. He loved it the time I brought 5 Canadian girls in for dinner.

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2. Eataly – Italian, Manhattan

A huge Italian grocery store, owned by super-chef Mario Batali, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. You can choose one of the many cafes in the store to eat at – including pizza, pasta, fish, gelato, meat, and vegetarian restaurants – and you can buy some pasta, bread, or sauce to bring home with you!

Tip: go on a weeknight. It’s much less busy.

3. Five Leaves – Cafe, Bar, Oysters – Brooklyn

Surrounded by hype and sometimes line-ups of hipsters waiting to get in, Heath Ledger was one of the restaurants’ first investors. Go early and enjoy one of their tasty gin cocktails. My favourite meal so far is the Atlantic Char, but I’m working my way up to the Five Leaves Burger! (Pictured above.)

4. San Loco – Mexican, Manhattan & Brooklyn

This spot is almost fast food, but still way beyond Taco Bell. Get a Guaco Loco – a hard taco, wrapped in a soft taco shell, held together with guacamole. Beans or catfish are my favourite. Enjoy with a Corona or, if you’re feeling saucy, a frozen margarita!

5. Dos Caminos – Mexican, Manhattan

When you find yourself in the Union Square/Gramercy Bermuda Triangle of not knowing where to eat, settling on this chain is actually a pretty decent bet.

My favourites: sangria and their great guacamole!

6. Peter Luger Steakhouse – Steakhouse, Brooklyn

This is a steakhouse the serious meat lover. Go here and feel like you’re a New York mobster. Have waiters ask you “how much steak you want?” instead of giving you a menu. If you aren’t so keen on spending a small fortune on meat, I actually prefer their burgers. BEST BURGERS EVER. But be warned, they are only available at lunchtime. Finish off with cheesecake.

Tip: Make a reservation, even for lunch.

7. Juliette – French, Brooklyn

“A Taste of Paris in Brooklyn”. My favourite brunch spot in Williamsburg. Very cute decor with a pseudo-patio you can enjoy in any weather.

8. Smorgasburg – Food Stands, Brooklyn

This is a food festival to end all food festivals. Best of all, it takes place every Saturday from about May to October. Eat everything from anchovies to BBQ to donuts to roti to pupusas. Go ahead and eat three lunches then dessert!

9. Sidewalk Cafe – American, Manhattan
A good staple, perfect for meeting friends for dinner and drinks after work. With a 2-for-1 Happy Hour, you can get a little tipsy with your tasty meal for about $20!

10. Anywhere you can get a good New York bagel!

These aren’t your store-bought bagels, they’re chewy, salty, hearty, and soooo delicious.

My favourites: Murray’s Bagels, Baker’s Dozen, but of course there are many more throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Get the whole experience and slap some lox on that bagel along with your cream cheese! Yum.

Practicing Yoga in NYC

June 20, 2012 § 8 Comments

Those who know me well know I love yoga. I started about five years ago with free classes at my gym in Toronto and have progressively gotten more serious about my practice since then. Finding a yoga studio that’s right for you is on par with finding the right hairdresser – they’ve got to make you feel comfortable and give you what you want to make you come back. Luckily, I found Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg after trying just two other studios in the city. The owner and one of the studio’s most prominent instructors, Alana Kessler, is just amazing. I’ve never been athletic in my life, but she makes me feel like I can do anything as long as I work at it. As a result, I can do things now that I actually laughed at in disbelief when she demonstrated them to me about 15 months ago.

Last weekend, I was happy to participate in the filming of the studio’s new testimonial video. Check out my moves and sweaty post-yoga face:

{Photo by Armando Zubieta}

Canada Day/America Day

July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I like that Canada Day and Independence Day are the same weekend, but it often makes for a very busy time. We had promised Nick’s Dad that we’d visit him in Pennsylvania for the 4th, but we also had some visitors, and not just any visitors, but one of my best friends Julia and her sweet fiance Jay! They’re both there if you look closely:

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Even though we only had Friday and Saturday with J squared, we managed to show them a pretty great time in Brooklyn. I love it when you don’t see a friend for a while, you don’t even communicate as often as you should, but you still manage to have all the same interests and habits. In this case, Julia and Jay were very excited about our plans to take them to our favourite neighbourhood restaurants and shops, then more than happy to relax with a bottle of champagne on the roof and going to bed just after midnight.

On Saturday, Nick and I took them to our new favourite summer event: Smorgasburg. We ate all sorts of things from anchovies to pupusas to giant ice cream sandwiches to grilled pineapple.

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The food was well-documented, mostly through the reflections in Jay’s sunglasses.

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My favourite new find had to be the homemade ice cream sandwiches with oatmeal cookies and sea salt!

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The trip to Pennsylvania was also great – Nick made record time with his driving and I managed to swim three days in a row! Nick Sr. also made us some tasty crabcakes and mac n’ cheese.

How was your long weekend, wherever you were?

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