08.08.17The Highlights of Red Hook, Brooklyn

When my parents came to visit in July, I started thinking about some things we could do that would be new and off the beaten path (that beaten path being Manhattan). We spent a day in the Bronx (more on that soon) and a whole day Red Hook, Brooklyn. There are quite a few fun things to do in this neighborhood that is being revived after taking a beating from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

When they say that the journey is half the fun, they might be talking about the ferry ride over to Red Hook :). We grabbed the free Ikea Express ferry from Pier 11 (where Wall Street meets the East River). The twenty-minute boat ride gave us gorgeous views of Manhattan as we sailed toward Brooklyn. You can get off the boat at the first stop at Ikea, or you can get off at the second stop near some restaurants.

We hopped off at the second stop and walked over to Brooklyn Crab for lunch. We had heard great things about this 3-story open air “shack” with views of the water and a fun beachy menu. Among the four of us, we can say that the fish and chips and the crab roll were quite tasty, especially when paired with a pitcher of Narragansett beer.

From there, we wandered along the coastline to the Red Hook Winery, where we did a tasting of their selection. Red Hook Winery aims to uncover and highlight the best vineyard sites in New York state — “from the salty, sea-breeze-blown North Fork of Long Island to the stone, shale, and winter-dominated Finger Lakes.” They source the grapes from other parts of the state and create their own wine varieties. I’d found it difficult to find Cabernet Franc wine in NYC, but this winery had not one, not two, but THREE varieties of Cab Franc available for tasting! Their wines were delicious, and I’m glad we did the flight to be able to compare.

Following our wine tasting, we meandered over to a little shop that has become famous among New Yorkers: Steve’s Key Lime Pie. I regretted not purchasing a pie the last time we were in Red Hook. Since my parents are big key lime pie fans, I knew this was the perfect time to pick one up. I bought a frozen pie so that we could take it with us to our next stop and get it in the fridge by the time we got back home. Later that night, we cut into our pie and enjoyed every single bite!

Our next stop on the list had been much-anticipated by Rob. We’d learned of Van Brunt Stillhouse a few months ago and were eager to do a tour and tasting at their outpost in Red Hook. I reserved our tickets online ahead of time to ensure our spot. The tour was fine, but the tastings were ample — I particularly liked their rum (there was a hint of butterscotch!), and Rob loved their single malt whiskey. If you don’t care for liquor straight, they offer a variety of cocktails using their liquor.

From there we walked back toward Ikea to pick up our ferry to return to Manhattan. What I loved about Red Hook was the vast number of things to do that were all within walking distance of each other. There are plenty of other restaurants I’d like to try, like Red Hook Lobster Pound and Hometown BBQ, and new breweries seem to be popping up as the area revitalizes itself. If you’re looking for a unique taste of Brooklyn, I highly recommend the quick trip to Red Hook.

08.04.17Northern California: Packing Inspiration

This month we’re headed to the west coast! We are visiting friends in San Francisco and exploring the city/surrounding region. Because we have quite an array of activities on the docket, packing is going to be a bit challenging (and I only have a carry-on!). Furthermore, we need to pack for a variety of climates/temperatures.

Being prepared when traveling is important to me, so I’m incredibly diligent in thinking through all activities and necessary clothing, where pieces can overlap, and planning in advance. Here, I’ve put together my packing inspiration for exploring downtown San Francisco and Sausalito, a couple date nights, a weekend in Yosemite, a day trip in Napa, and a road trip to Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur.

As per usual, neutrals are in strong demand over here. They’re so easy to mix and match, and I don’t usually like standing out in bright colors. Stripes are always in style, and I love the nautical vibe for a city nearly surrounded by water. Layers are also key – I plan to take a fleece pullover for evenings in Yosemite, and a white linen blazer or neutral cardigan for cooler temps in San Francisco. I’d love to wear a beautiful, flowy sundress for a day of wine tasting (and it can double for a date night, too!). If you know me at all, then you know I’m a Kate Middleton fan. She is always classy and beautiful, even in a casual outfit. I’m taking notes for how to make walking sneakers look chic! (In the image above, she is wearing the Superga canvas sneakers.)

07.26.17What’s Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m back with an installment of What’s Up Wednesday. I’m linking up with ShaySheaffer, and Mel! Leave me a note if you’ve shared what’s up in your life.

What we’re eating this week:
This week we’re eating leftovers from the weekend, including pesto spaghetti squash and roasted chicken. But tonight, I’m taking a break from cooking and meeting Rob for dinner at The Meatball Shop — yay!

What I’m reminiscing about:
I’m reminiscing about an amazing visit we had with my parents a couple weeks ago. We had them here for several days and covered lots of ground across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx… stay tuned for a recap!

What I’m loving:
This summer I’ve been using tinted moisturizer with SPF every day, and I’m loving the light coverage, moisturizer, and built-in sunscreen. It’s perfect for summertime. I use this kind from Aveeno.

What we’ve been up to:
After lots of summer travels and visitors, we’re enjoying some normalcy and routine for the next few weeks. We’ve been spending time with friends and each other, and I’ve been grinding away with my summer courses at NYU.

What I’m dreading:
Lots of school papers and projects are coming up to wrap up my summer term. Gotta finish strong! But it’s hard when there are so many other fun things to do :).

What I’m working on:
Trying to balance full-time work and part-time graduate school can be a challenge. But it’s fun when I feel a sense of accomplishment from both worlds! Yesterday we launched our Fall campaign at Gap, and I’m especially proud of our messaging this season and the brand I get to represent. Check it out on social: Facebook, Gap Instagram, GapKids Instagram

What I’m excited about:
I’m excited that next summer I won’t be in class! My plan is to graduate next May, whoo hoo!

What I’m watching/reading:
After putting Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (she wrote The Girl on the Train) on hold at the library, I waited months to finally get to read it. But several chapters in, I simply couldn’t continue. The characters were vague and rambly, the plot was lacking, and I just wasn’t into it. It’s pretty rare that I start a book (especially one so long-awaited) and don’t finish it. But I didn’t think this one was worth my time to continue. Have you read it? What were your thoughts? Any other psychological thrillers out there that I should check out?

What I’m listening to:
I’m still firmly on the podcast train! I still love the Daily, but would love to hear what podcasts you like that aren’t news-related? I also listen to some Bachelor blogs (how embarrassing), and the Young House Love podcast regularly.

What I’m wearing:
This week I’ve been wearing jeans and long sleeves… I can hardly believe it! We were in a brutal heat wave last week, and this week it’s in the 60s and low 70s.

What I’m doing this weekend:
We have a typical weekend ahead, mixing friend time, date time, church time, and family time: bagels in Bryant Park with friends, a date planned by Rob, volunteering in the kids’ ministry at church, and plenty of FaceTime sessions with family & friends.

What I’m looking forward to next month:
Every year, Rob has to take a mandated, contiguous, two-week vacation from work. He schedules it in between my school terms so we can spend more time together. So in mid-August, we’re headed to the west coast! We’ll be visiting friends in San Francisco and exploring some of Northern California. This is a trip I’ve wanted to take for years, so I am so excited!

What else is new:
Not a whole lot is new right now, which is kinda nice!

Bonus question this month — Favorite thing about summer:
Picnics in the great city parks! And rosé. Can’t forget the rosé. Did you know Trader Joe’s sells canned rosé? Perfect for picnics! 🙂

What’s up with you?!