Thursday, December 26, 2013

Year in Review

The holiday season seemed to fly by this year. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas sort of was a blur of travel, work, parties, friends and family and not only does it seem that this holiday season went fast, but this year! I can't believe it has been more than a year now that I have been living in New York, have been at my job and have been done with school! Time definitely is flying and even though there have been plenty of ups and downs this year, for the most part, 2013 was amazing!

As a way to look back at the year, aka getting sentimental over here... here is my version of my year in review!

C and I were lucky enough this year to be able to splurge once in awhile, and over the year we have been able to see the city and go out to some amazing dinners. As such a foodie, I obviously remember my favorite meal... should I admit to that? embarrassing?... but it was at Park Ave which is this amazing restaurant which actually remodels the entire restaurant each season to create an atmosphere that matches the food. I love everything about it!

With the start of spring there is one thing so NY, the Yankees! I admit, I am not a serious fan, I do not follow the games religiously, I do not know the players, but my boyfriend is and as a newly appointed NYer I thought I should try. So I made it out to a few games and I loved it. 

I am obsessed with all things Harry Potter, so as a spur of the moment decision while down in Florida, C and I headed over to Universal to see Harry Potter World! It was amazing and played up to all fans wildest dreams! Clearly I missed my invite to attend Hogwarts but to comfort my broken heart I grabbed up a butter beer and some every flavor beans.

One highlight of my year was getting a chance to head up to Rhode Island. I have never been up there and it was beautiful! We made a quick trip to the Vanderbilt house which had the most beautiful view!

With all the business trips I have been on this year, there have been some serious perks. One highlight from the year was a trip to Oregon which gave me the chance to eat delicious food and check out the Oregon wine country! The Oregon Pinot Noirs were DELICIOUS and the views weren't half bad either!

Time in the city has flown by and it always amazes me that I actually live here! Just wandering through the city I am always discovering new places and fun things to do. Over the summer there are a few weekends that Park Ave is shut down to traffic and people are able to ride their bikes or walk down from the Upper East to Brooklyn. I rode down and it was such a different way to see the city.

Thanksgiving in Napa with my amazing boyfriend C....Sorry gushing, maybe it's the wine talking ;)... but I haven't been to Napa in the fall in forever and it was gorgeous! All the grape leaves were orange and red, and we had such a great time checking out a few new wineries and eating delicious food.

And finally, Christmas at home in the beautiful and completely unusual 75 degree weather!

Could anyone get any happier than Shiloh is in this picture!

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season... (yes, I know New Years is still coming- can't wait to be back in NY!)... but I hope everyone had a chance to look back on their 2013 and single everything out that made it great! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Wrap Up

As it is so close to the holiday, this is more of a holiday wish list or things I would love to find under the tree for me and my family!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2013


The week seemed to fly by and for the last day of our trip we had off, so we traveled into Amsterdam for the day. My friend and I spent the day wandering around the city which actually wan't that big. We wandered aimlessly for awhile, following only what streets interested us and our desire to find food. Somehow, we managed to see the sites.

For instance, when we turned one corner we stumbled upon the Royal Palace... I guess this house will do.

The city is very alive with hundreds of bikers and people running around here or there. We walked through the flower market (so many tulips!), discovered amazing street art and past through the historic neighborhoods. Amsterdam is definitely one of the prettiest most interesting cities I have ever been to... I mean who can hate a city with such pretty canals!

As my friends and family will know, the cheese shops were by far my favorite part of the trip! 

Locks of Love

Nice parking spot.

My one problem with traveling, is that once I go somewhere amazing and totally different than my norm, I immediately want to continue exploring. So now I have the travel bug and unfortunately with my job it will be awhile until I can do something amazing like this again.

For my last night in the Netherlands we found another great hotel, this one was more up my alley and super cozy. Check out my amazing room and the most comfortable bed from my stay at Hotel Pulitzer.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Den Haag- Day 2

Waking up the next morning was a struggle as I woke on the hour ever hour. What fun! Luckily when I got downstairs for breakfast, in the formal dinning area (so fancy), I was immediately greeted with a cup of coffee and some questionable dairy product... definitely not non-fat.

Luckily though, we had some more time to enjoy the city and wander around a bit.

Everyone in the Netherlands apparently bikes EVERYWHERE, including in the rain, carrying small children, wearing high heels. It was actually quite amazing and horrifying at the same time as I was almost taken out by multiple bikers. Also, huge change of pace from NY, nobody locks their bikes! This completely blew my mind as even in NY when you lock your bike, anything not strapped down will be stolen. Very refreshing and amazing to see such respect for other people's belongings.

Day 2 down and it was amazing! Hopefully getting a good nights sleep will go better than the last!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Den Haag

Supper exciting and a major change of pace, recently I was lucky enough to get picked to take a work trip to The Hague, Netherlands. Oh shucks, I guess I can go... (Secretly jumping for joy... but not so secretly). The last time I was in the Netherlands was about 10 years ago when I went with my family on an extended Europe trip and I just couldn't wait to go back. Additional bonus was getting to go with a great friend from work, making the entire trip seem more like a free vacation than an actual business engagement. I guess I could struggle through it!

To kick the trip off, like being free wasn't enough, I was whisked away to the airport and got to experience all the perks of flying first class. So for never traveling first class and having my first experience on an international flight and having that flight be a red eye, let me just say how amazing and completely terrible it was. Terrible because it completely spoiled me for all future travels. Oh the leg room and full recline!

Did I mention the bubbly? (Clearly my favorite part!)

 Once arriving the next morning in Amsterdam and experiencing a rather comical trip by train to the Hague, we finally made it to our hotel. Oh what a surprise... and the trip continued to get harder and harder to bear. Hotel des Indes was really quite spectacular. Being a converted embassy the hotel did not spare any cost to keep up the historic and beautiful design. What a serious treat to spend a week there.

Sadly, I couldn't enjoy the room that long, just a quick pop in to freshen up before heading over to the office. But I didn't seem to mind, as the walk delivered on the perfect fall day!

Later that night, aka around 6pm, the jet lag set in and I passed out immediately only to wake up at 1am wide awake and ready to go. So naturally, to kill time and to settle some of the excitement of being there, I peeked out the window and captured the view. Isn't it charming!

Overall, a great first day and I just love being back in Europe. It just has such a different pace from NY and I love the change up. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Napa- Bouchon Bistro

While home in California for Thanksgiving, C and I headed up to Napa for a few days. Both of us have been super busy with work and needed a vacation, even if it was just for a few day. As serious foodies, obviously we were thrilled about eating delicious food just as much as going wine tasting. So naturally we did our research. Our dream would have been to be to go to French Laundry, but seeing as we didn't plan the trip 3 months in advanced... (do I plan anything that far in advanced?)... that wasn't an option. So we did the next best thing by trying Thomas Keller's other restaurant Bouchon Bistro for lunch.

To start, I had the watercress-endive salad with Roquefort cheese, Fuji apples and walnuts. The salad was light and fresh just the perfect starter to the meal.

C had the french onion soup which was incredibly good.

After starters, I grabbed the gnocchi with garden vegetables and brown butter sauce. The gnocchi was light and fluffy and the ultimate comfort food.

Also, if you are interested in gardening or farm to table cooking, all the produce for the kitchen is grown in their garden located across the street making everything incredible fresh and delicious.

C has the Croque  Madame and truffle fries. I helped myself to more than my fair share of his food... guilty as charged, but my love of truffles trumps all.

Bouchon makes Thomas Keller's food much more accessible to the public (no fixed price menu and no 3 month wait) but for being his more casual dining experience he doesn't short on the flavor or quality of any of his food. I highly recommend stopping by for a bite if you are ever in Napa. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

California Style

Happy Day after Thanksgiving! 
Spending Thanksgiving with my family at home in California means lots of sunshine! Honestly it is a huge relief after the winter chill that has hit the east coast. 

To help with Thanksgiving, I was responsible for the table centerpiece and so I decided to do some research... aka Pinterest... and decided on doing succulents and silver for table settings. 

Putting together the pieces were pretty fun and simple. Grab a few little succulents and replant them in glass containers makes them look simple and clean with a touch of flair for the table.

After setting the table and catching up on any last minute cooking, we heading down to the beach for a Thanksgiving Day stroll (aka time to build up an appetite).

Such a beautiful day! Thankful for the sun and for being with family.

Shiloh lead the walk mainly, running around and playing with other dogs. 

After a fun time... the best time for Shiloh... we headed home to begin the endless hours of eating, drinking and family time. I hope everyone had a fun filled day with family and friends. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

A day at the MOMA

Recently my parents came to town for a quick visit. It is always nice when family makes the journey to see me and so I always try to do something fun and a little bit different. As New York has such great museums, what better way to spend some time together than to take in the sites at the MOMA.

Honestly, I have to admit for how many museums I have been to in my lifetime and for how close the MOMA is to me, I have never been to the NY location. Finally, upon arriving with my parent's, I realized how much I really was missing. I can't believe it took me so long to get there and I honestly can't wait to go back. Just a few of my favorites...

After a long day of checking out the amazing and eclectic collection, we did what any hungry family in NY would do and headed over to the Shake Shack... sadly no pictures as I was far to hungry to stop and snap one. Maybe next time.