Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Whew, definitely an eventful couple of days in New York thanks to Hurricane Sandy. I hope everyone is safe after the devastation and destruction that this storm left behind. Luckily, I made it out okay—aside from heavy winds and minor flooding, the Upper East Side was left relatively unharmed. I continue to be impressed by New York City emergency services, and their unfaltering efforts to keep this city safe. 

With that, I want to wish everyone a Happy Halloween. It's a bittersweet day to celebrate, but a bright spot at the end of this terrible storm.

(Image via Note to Self) 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wine and cheese party

What a clever idea for a wine and cheese party! I love the use of chalkboards to label each dish, and better yet, make suggestions for what wine pairs best with the food. It's such a creative idea, and a fun way to personalize a party with friends at home. 

What do you do to add a special touch to an evening at home? Would love to hear your ideas!

Plus: More chalkboards here and here and here.

(Images via Rock UR Party) 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stand under my umbrella

I'm in awe of this art installation in Bulgaria: 400 umbrellas strung up in the sky to help raise breast cancer awareness. Such a beautiful (hot pink) sight, all for such an important cause.

Speaking of umbrellas, looks like we might need one with Hurricane Sandy due to hit New York today. To everyone affected on the east coast, stay safe! 

Also, a flashback to Hurricane Irene. :)

(Images via BuzzFeed)

Friday, October 26, 2012

The weekend is here!

At last, happy Friday! What do you have planned for the next couple of days off? The Halloween festivities start this weekend—I'm always amazed at how big this particular holiday is in New York. People love it! To mark the occasion (a bit early), I'm finally going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Have you seen it before? I never have, and after Glee's rendition last year, and watching it in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it's become a must-do! Here's to a wonderful (and relaxing) weekend ahead. To get it started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

The best burgers.

Such a glamorous party!

Joy takes New York (see me here and here).

Fall apple crush.

Hello, love.

Last minute costume ideas.

Gorgeous, delicate flats.

DIY party hat fascinator.

An amazing Paris travelogue.

Good food (and cheers to spontaneous lunch with a friend!).

(Image via Pinterest)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Broadway Must-See: The Heiress

Fall theater always gets me — there are so many incredible shows to see, it just gets tough to narrow the choices down! This past weekend, I saw the one that's been at the top of my list all summer: The Heiress. It stars Jessica Chastain, Dan Stevens, David Strathairn, and Judith Ivey, all of which gave terrific—and chilling—performances throughout the heart-wrenching show. I was blown away by their talent, and ability to move so easily between the stage and the screen. I highly recommend (especially for those Downton Abbey fans!).

Are there any new Broadway plays you're hoping to see this season? What about recent shows you've loved?

(Image 1, Image 2)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Party lika Pippa

Now that we're only a few days away from the release of Pippa Middleton's Celebrate, I'd love to know: will you buy this book? I have to admit I'm pretty intrigued—I've checked out her family's company blog Party Times (which Pippa is known to write) on more than one occasion, and I think all the advice there is really good. For more about Pippa's book, read her interview with the Mail on Sunday here.

What's your go-to source for entertaining advice? I'd love to know!

(Image 1, Image 2)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paris in the Rain

I know I just recently blogged about Paris, but these photos from Little Brown Pen caught my eye. Nichole's series about Paris in the rain is lovely, and perfectly captures the energy of a city where the moody weather changes on a dime. In fact, the rain came to be one of my favorite parts of my trip—I loved waking up to a downpour, or ducking into a cozy coffee shop when a short-lived storm passed by.

I'm actually missing Paris a lot, and already itching to go back. In the interim, I decided to join the French Library in New York to keep French culture top of mind. I'm going to my first event tonight. :)

One more: Have you listened to this Regina Spektor song? It talks about Paris in the rain. It's amazing!

(Images via Little Brown Pen)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shopping Page: Winter Coat

The chilly weather has arrived in New York, and as a result, I'm on the lookout for a new fall coat. But I can't decide: Should I brighten things up with a blue hue like the J.Crew coat above, or opt for classic black or gray, a neutral color scheme that's a bit more classic and chic?

Would love your fashion advice on this — and if you know of any cute coats worth checking out, do tell!

(Image 1, Image 2)  

Friday, October 19, 2012

The weekend is here!

Happy weekend dear readers! What do you have planned for the next couple of days off? I'm looking forward to seeing Argo, which is getting a lot of good reviews. I saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower last week, and if you haven't gone yet, drop what you're doing and go. That book changed my life in high school — I highly recommend. :) Whatever your plans are, wishing you a wonderful and relaxing weekend ahead. Here, to get it started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

Women who do it all!

Slippery slope into Britishisms—hilarious.

When I can check in?

My newest Pinterest crush.

DIY neon sign art — how cool!

The sweetest ballet class, ever.

A kiss goodnight.

Meet Mrs. French Twist. Love it!

Plus: The five elements of Ladylikeness.

Ruby red shoes.

The best Halloween costume, ever. (More here!)

(Image via Groove Salad)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Kitchen, Re-Imagined

There are many days where I dream about having a more organized kitchen. I've started cooking more frequently, and unfortunately, my current apartment just doesn't have the space for it. File under New York City problems, I guess, but even the tiniest bit more counter space would make a difference. I'd love a spot where I could hang my mugs, and add a chalkboard wall, like the clever kitchens in the pics above.

Do you have a kitchen that's set up to cook in? How do you maximize the space you have?

(Image 1, Image 2)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Girl Power!

I already love the Golden Globes, but such delightful and inspiring news that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will be co-hosting this year! Whoever made that decision deserves a promotion—and a raise. These two funny ladies are my favorites — check out their comedic genius here.

Do you prefer the Oscars or the Globes? Other than Amy and Tina, who would be your dream host?

More Globes here, here and here.

(Image via Pinterest)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spur of the Moment Reading

Over the weekend, I found myself on the Upper West Side — the weather was perfect, and I had no place to be. I stumbled into Westsider Books, a delightful used bookstore, where I planned to browse, not buy. But, while looking through the fiction titles, I came across Heartburn, the first-ever novel written by Nora Ephron, a woman whose writing style I will always admire and adore. The copy was pristine — whoever read and owned the book before treated it with care. I purchased it for a bargain rate and ventured over to Central Park to read. I'm hooked! And also happy to report that I was able to squeeze in another Saturday in the Park before the weather turns freezing cold. :)

What are you reading now? For lots of great book pics, check out Critics & Writers!

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Tie a Bow Tie

As far as creative business cards go, these definitely take the cake. Designed for stylist Brad Goreski (formerly of the Rachel Zoe project) by artist Sarah Drake, this calling card comes with a useful tip: step-by-step instructions for how to tie a bow tie.

Have you ever tried? It is much more challenging than I ever thought it could be—even when you watch instructional videos like this one. The trick is to really pay attention between steps 5 and 6.

What do you think of this idea? If you were adding a personal touch to your business card, what would it be?

(Images via Sarah Drake Design)

Friday, October 12, 2012

The weekend is here!

The weekend, my darling readers! After a week spent blogging about my travels to Ireland and Paris, I have to admit: one of the best things about vacation is coming home, especially to a city as amazing as New York. This weekend is filled with lots of only-in-New York things. Broadway, the ballet, and given the sunny forecast, hopefully some time spent in Central Park, too. What do you have planned? Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead. Here, to get it started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

Ode to the little things.

I wish my bookshelves looked like this.

Reasons to love October.

Can someone buy me these lovely purple shoes? :)

How to be a tourist in Notting Hill.

Sunny vases.

I think I want a puppy

Oui, je t'aime Paris! (Plus: the city in Autumn.)

Fall salads I can't wait to try.

Run away.

(Image via Note to Self) 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Travel Page: Paris [Part Two]

Whew, this post is a big one: Paris! Honestly, it was a challenge to select just a handful of pics to share. As I mentioned yesterday, this city was everything I hoped it would be and more. I had the most incredible time, filled with more pinch-me-this-is-out-of-a-movie moments than I can possible recount. The most important things about my trip:

Where to Eat
*Septime was the first meal I ate in Paris, and one of the best. A recommendation that came from Rachel Khoo, Matt and I snagged a reservation for lunch where we were blown away by the inventiveness of each dish. Septime is also the place that I learned about the quality of vegetables in France—our waiter explained it is the soil and the way they are harvested that makes the veggies much more flavorful than the States.
*Le Verre Volé near Canal Saint-Martin is where we spent our Saturday night, drinking plenty of red wine, and eating fresh, delicious fish. For those of you that know me, fish typically isn't my thing, but when in Paris... I decided to leave everything I ordered up to the chef.
*Philou was hands down my favorite meal of our trip. This bistro—also by Canal Saint-Martin—was relaxed, romantic, and one-of-a-kind. If I lived in Paris, I would definitely make this a regular spot. Between the food and the service, it was absolutely lovely. Plus, check out the décor!

Where to Stay
*For this trip, we decided to rent an apartment through Airbnb. We stayed in Saint Germain des Pres, a gorgeous and picturesque neighborhood, with a great nightlife, too. It didn't hurt that there were a few creperies on our block that stayed open late. I'd happily swap a late-night slice of pizza for a nutella crepe any day!

What to Do
*From the moment we arrived in Paris, Matt and I were on the go. We went to the Centre Pompideau and the Louvre, Ladurée for macarons, Luxembourg Gardens, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and more. The best recommendation I can give is something we did the Sunday night before we left: a bike tour of Paris at night. We signed up through Fat Tire Bike Tours, which was a brilliant idea (way to go, Matt!). Riding through the streets of Paris for hours, it was breathtaking to see the city all lit up. After three hours, the tour ended with a river cruise on the Seine until midnight, ending in front of the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled against the night sky. It started pouring while we were on the water, but it only added to the experience. It was definitely a memorable night!

There you have it: Paris. Truthfully, there's so much more to share. But this is a start—and hopefully the beginning of many regular trips back. :)

Have you been to Paris before? Check out details of my Ireland vacation here and here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Travel Page: Paris [Part One]

In a nutshell, Paris—to me—is the most magical place I've ever been. Before I delve deep into what we did on our 5-day vacation there, I figured I'd start with the most quintessential part of our trip: the Eiffel Tower. We took the metro there, and as we rounded the corner past the subway exit, we looked up and there it was. As many times as I've seen the Eiffel Tower in movies and photos, and talked about it throughout eight years of studying French, nothing could have prepared me for how magnificent it looks up close. 

Per the advice of a friend, we watched the forecast to pick the sunniest day and waited in line to take the elevator to the top. I loved the rickety feel of the elevator as it slowly made the climb up. Then, in minutes, we were stepping through the doors and out onto a platform to take in unlimited views of Paris—the rooftops, the gardens, the Seine. Like I said, nothing could have prepared me for the beauty of that sight. 

After an hour or so, we decided to skip the elevator and slowly make the climb down. Matt managed to snap the somewhat awkward, somewhat cool photo of me above. I mean, who wouldn't want a shot of themselves inside a leg of the Eiffel Tower? It's a pic I'm happy to have, and a memory I'm happy to share.

Have you been to the Eiffel Tower? What did you think? More Paris tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Travel Page: Ireland

If you read yesterday's post, you saw incredible photos from my friends' Irish wedding. Hard to believe that was only day one of our trip! From Clifden, we drove back to Galway, where we checked into the most lovely B&B I've ever stayed at: the Kilcullen House. If you ever find yourself in Ireland, book a room at this place—it's reasonably priced, centrally located, and run by the most welcoming staff you could possibly imagine. We dropped our bags, and got back on the road—this time, traveling down to see the Cliffs of Moher. We took the scenic route, which made for a tight squeeze when passing others on the road, but was completely worth it since it meant we could drive along Ireland's beautiful coast.

Other Ireland favorites:

*The Guinness Factory tour in Dublin was touristy, yes, but tons of fun. It also features one of the most impressive views of the entire city!
*The castles. I felt like I fell into an episode of Downton Abbey every time we passed a magnificent castle, like the one pictured above near Clifden.
*I grew up in a small town, but I couldn't get enough of the cows, sheep and horses, roaming in the sweeping fields along the roads as we drove by. Also, amazing—the stone walls! It's incredible to think about how long ago they were built, and how they've withstood the test of time...and inclement weather.
*The food. We had the pleasure of dining at Kai, a delightful spot in Galway, where I enjoyed one of the best meals of the entire trip. Matt's steak—pictured above—was so tasty, with all organic ingredients, too.
*Last, the very best part of Ireland is the small town vibe of a country so lush, green, friendly and kind. Everywhere we went we either made friends or ran into them, which is exactly why I posted the pic of myself and my friend (and fellow wedding guest) Stephanie. Matt and I ran into Steph and her husband Tom the last night of our trip at a pub in Dublin. Together, we walked over to the Ha'penny Bridge over the Liffey River — a magical way to say goodbye to the city, and get ready for our next destination: Paris!