Five Things from the Long Weekend

Happy Monday! The sun is shining and the temperature is supposed to reach a mild 70 degrees today in Brooklyn. Our plan for the day is to stay local, exploring and doing some shopping before relaxing this evening with leftovers and Manchester By the Sea.

Washington Square ParkI thought it’d be fun to share a few of the things we did with my parents over the past few days during their visit. As you guys know, my parents visit us in New York at least 2 to 3 times per year so we tend to relax together and just enjoy versus trying to hit museums and tourist spots that they’ve seen multiple times. Since it was my dad’s birthday weekend, we chose a few restaurants that we knew he’d love so he could enjoy his favorite cuisine.

  1. Birthday dinner at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown for their famous soup dumplings. If you’re local or visiting and love Chinese food, Joe’s Shanghai’s Chinatown location is a great option for authentic, reasonably priced Chinese food. Unlike many places in Chinatown, they offer an English menu so you aren’t clueless. We loved that the restaurant was filled with locals versus a line of tourists. Soup dumplings
  2. A long, cold walk through Gramercy, Union Square, West Village, NoHo, SoHo and Tribeca. Even though the sun was shining and the sky was blue, the weather in NYC yesterday was deceptively frigid due to the strong wind gusts. We bundled up and enjoyed a long walk through some areas my parents are less familiar with while perusing shops and enjoying the sights, such as Washington Square Park. 
  3. Delicious Italian dinner at Gran Morsi in Tribeca. Our friends Mike and Liz introduced us to Gran Morsi earlier this year and since then I’ve been dreaming about their delicious meatballs and the cast iron Eggplant Parmesan.  My parents loved the relaxed yet chic atmosphere and the service and food were just as good as we remembered.  Ashley bump
  4. A very successful shopping experience at Seraphine Maternity. As you guys know, I haven’t purchased many maternity items thus far, instead relying on a few hand me downs and a few key items. Now that Spring is coming and I’ve also popped quite significantly over the past two weeks, my mom and I agreed that it was time to go shopping. The experience shopping in the Seraphine SoHo location was incredible. The staff was very friendly and helpful while their seasonal sale allowed me to walk out with seven pieces, 3 dresses, 3 tops, 1 sweater and one pair of panty hose, without breaking the bank. I couldn’t believe that two of my favorite items were under $60! I was able to find two dresses (this one and this one) which will be perfect for my Savannah and NYC showers. 
  5. Two nights of delicious cooking and baking with Mom and Bo. After two nights of eating out we decided to spend Saturday and Sunday nights cooking in and relaxing together. We were all craving meat so we opted for a traditional steakhouse dinner on Saturday night followed by a slow-cooked pot roast on Sunday night. Since my mom and I enjoy baking together so much, we spent both nights baking delicious treats including this delicious German Chocolate cake.  Even though my dad doesn’t cook, it was still fun to have everyone in the kitchen relaxing together.

 

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Best NYC Run Route for Holiday Lights

best-nyc-holiday-decor-run-route

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! The holiday lights and decorations are shining in every corner of the city. Office buildings that are sterile and boring are suddenly bursting with holiday cheer while our department stores and famous landmarks are decked out in their most festive decor.

This morning I joined Theodora and the New York Junior League run club for four miles of holiday cheer through the streets of Manhattan. While our 9:30 AM start didn’t allow us to miss the crowds, even throngs of tourists couldn’t dampen my mood. nyjl-holiday-run

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I thought it would be fun to share a holiday themed run route that locals and tourists alike can reference during the holiday season. This 4.5 mile route will allow you to see holiday windows, Christmas trees and other highlights while you run or walk through the city. Due to the tourists and crowds, I highly recommend you going either early in the morning or later in the evening.

best run route to see christmas sights in nyc

This route begins near the 77th Street Subway station on the Upper East Side before leading you through Midtown East, Midtown, Herald Square and finally Flatiron. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to see these famous sights, as well as have the option to stop in to see the famous Christmas trees in a few spots along the route.

  • The illuminated fir trees along Fifth Avenue
  • Bloomingdale’s 59th Street windows
  • Bergdorf Goodman windows
  • The Plaza Hotel Christmas decorations and tree (optional stop inside)
  • Saks Fifth Avenue Windows
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
  • The recently renovated St. Patrick’s Cathedral (optional stop inside)
  • Cartier, Tiffany’s and other boutique windows and displays
  • Bryant Park tree and Winter Village
  • New York Public Library Christmas Tree (optional stop inside)
  • Macy’s Herald Square windows
  • Madison Square Park’s Christmas Tree
  • City Bakery for a delicious cup of their famous hot chocolate

Click here to access the route, send it to your phone or share with others!

Top image credit: http://www.1000thingsnyc.com/christmas-lights-and-decorations/

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A Delicious Night with Gilt City and La Palapa Mexican Cocina

dinner

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a blogger dinner with Gilt City and La Palapa.   I was the only person who knew everyone at the table so it was fun to see so many friendly faces and introduce everyone to each other while enjoying delicious food and a warm, festive environment.

la palapa nyc blogger dinner

Heather, me, Diana, Theodora, Christine, Nicole, KatieAlanna, Evann, Meaghan (not pictured), Arielle (not pictured), and the owner of La Palapa, Barbara

The goal of the evening was to bring together health and wellness bloggers in New York City and introduce them to the healthier side of Mexican food as well as the wonderful partners that Gilt City has on their platform. Barbara, the owner of La Palapa, put together a seven-course dinner for us along with three different refreshing drink pairings. As you can see from the menu below, the dishes were all very unique and unlike anything you’d find at an Americanized Mexican restaurant. Born and raised in Mexico City, Barbara taught us that many of the dishes we grew up enjoying in Mexican restaurants are special dishes often only enjoyed during large celebrations or weddings – not on a daily basis.  Since 2000, her goal has been to serve delicious, fresh, flavorful Mexican cuisine to New Yorkers!  The drinks and dishes focused on fresh, seasonal flavors and Barbara prided herself on ensuring that nothing had added sweetener or unnecessary ingredients. She used herbs and seasonings to enhance the flavor in a healthy way. la palapa

La Palapa menu

She definitely succeeded in amazing us!  Her passion for food came through in the way she described each of the below dishes before serving us each course. As she answered our questions and interacted with us, she would be inspired to add items to the evening, including pan-friend crickets! Only two of us were brave enough to try them. I don’t think I’ll do it again but suffice it to say – they are crunchy.

crickets

Four three hours, food and drinks flowed to the table while we laughed and caught up. Most of us focused on the food instead of the cocktails since it was a Monday night, but I tried a sip of each one and especially enjoyed the pineapple and nopal margarita.  By the end of the evening, my favorite dishes were the chalupas de mesa verde with platanos con mole negro, fish tacos, squash tacos, and the guavas with saffron.

appetizers
tacos

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Want to tasta La Palapa’s delicious food and cocktails for yourself? Save up to 55% by taking advantage of the La Palapa deals on Gilt City which include a weekend brunch, dinner for 10 or a four-course dinner for two!

la palapa gilt city

Your turn: What is your favorite Mexican dish? 

Thank you to Gilt City NYC and La Palapa for hosting us for a delicious and fun evening. Thank you also to Heather who provided some of these pictures. 

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