I can’t believe I’m saying this, but last year, I think I made it to the beach a grand total of once. Now, in my defense, it rained nearly every day last Summer. But it was more than that. You know how we start to take for granted the things we get to have all the time? I realized, after a life spent living on an island, I didn’t appreciate the beach anymore. So this year I decided to change that.
On what seemed like the most beautiful of all days, Jeffy and I piled into his car to meet the fabulous Mary Bordelon and her boyfriend, Jacob, for a good ol’ fashioned Long Island beach day. Naturally, the moment they drove all the way out from Brooklyn to meet us, the skies opened up and it started to POUR.
Was there some kind of curse placed on me that kept me from the beach? Had I taken it for granted too long and now I was being punished for my apathy?
Shockingly enough, no.
After feeling like we were all caught in some odd fever dream where the storm picked up every time we even mentioned going to the beach, the rain eventually subsided and skies were prettier than ever. And thank heavens, because Mary and I had bold plans to film some wonderful videos. Naturally, our boyfriends took naps while we went crazy filming. In the end, the weather was perfect, the post rain sunset was stunning and our videos came out wonderfully!
It was the perfect kick off to beach filled Summer 🙂
While Time Square is fabulous in all it’s brightly lit glory, I personally believe the true gems of Manhattan are to be found a little further south on the map. Lower Manhattan is filled with countless brunch spots, incredible places to stay and all around some of the best things to do in New York. There are some great places to stay in the more bustling, crowded, touristy side of New York as well. And if that’s your cup of tea, then by all means, keep it up! But if a slightly more quiet and unique scene is what you’re after, then catch the subway downtown and check out these Lower Manhattan hotspots on your way!
WHERE TO STAY If you’re planning to stay overnight in the city, Lower Manhattan is an excellent choice. You’re far away from a lot of the loud crowds but still surrounded by endless things to do! Which means you can sing your heart out at the kareoke joint 10 minutes away on foot without sacrificing a great nights sleep. And after all that beauty rest, you have no shortage of delicious brunch places to try on nearly every corner.
Hotel 50 Bowery Location: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013 Website: Hotel 50 Bowery Located in Chinatown, Hotel 50 Bowery is the place where luxury and affordability meet. The views from their rooms are almost as outstanding as their customer service. From the moment you walk in the lobby, you’re greeted by complimentary matcha tea and hot cocoa in addition to the super friendly staff. If you’re a fan of sushi, boba tea, hand pulled noodles or authentic Chinese, this is the place for you since the hotel is surrounded by excellent Asian restaurants. Not to mention their restaurant, Rice and Gold, was so delicious we went there twice in one day! At night, head up to The Crown, the rooftop bar reserved only for 50 Bowery guests. With almost entirely glass walls and a rooftop terrace, the view of Manhattan is unprecedented. While, I must admit, the drinks weren’t exactly my favorite, I’d go back any day just for the amazing atmosphere.
The Nomo Soho Location: 9 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013 Website: The Nomo Soho At a slightly higher, yet still affordable price point sits the Nomo Soho in, you guessed it, Soho! The exterior alone is so fabulous, it’s become something of an instagram hotspot. But keep walking beneath the beautifully green archway into the actual hotel and you’ll be even more stunned. With floor to ceiling windows, you won’t find a better view from your bed. The rooms are spacious, the service is warm and welcoming and the Nomo Kitchen is out of this world. It’s a place you’ll never want to leave! I spent my 24th birthday there and they made it beyond magical (read more about that here! or watch the video diary here!)
TIP: always check Groupon and look for midwinter deals! Groupon has been a lifesaver (and money saver!) when it comes to finding great hotels. But you can also check with the hotels directly for any sales they might be running. Most hotels are practically giving rooms away on their off seasons so if you’re on a budget don’t be afraid to ask!
WHERE TO EAT Breakfast/Brunch The Fat Radish Location:17 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 Website: The Fat Radish After waiting on line for a much “trendier” brunch spot and getting a major attitude from the waitress, we left and found this incredible spot instead. Upon seeing that it was British food, I must admit I was put off as my only experience with British cuisine was not a great one. However, this brunch blew me out of the water! The place is super cozy, the wait staff is beyond friendly and on a Sunday morning, we only had to wait 10 minutes for a seat, and that’s practically unheard for Sunday brunch in New York!
Jack’s Wife Freda – Soho Location:224 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012 Website: Jack’s Wife Freda This one’s definitely a much trendier spot but for good reason because the Mediterranean style food is totally worth the hype! Just as long as the family style seating at their huge farm table doesn’t bother you, it’s a major win. But really, if getting a little cozy with some strangers puts you off, then New York probably isn’t the place for you to begin with.
The Butcher’s Daughter – Nolita Location: 19 KENMARE STREET NYC — 10012 Website: The Butchers Daughter Another place high on everyone’s radar but again, majorly worth it. Get there nice and early to beat the crowd and enjoy the beautiful morning light pouring through the windows (especially if you can grab a seat at one!) This is all vegetarian but you won’t even miss the bacon because what these people can do with an egg is fantastic.
TIP: try out the more popular brunch spots midweek when the crowd isn’t nearly as bad as it is on Sundays. Otherwise, try getting to these places as soon as they open and you can grab a seat before most New Yorkers have even un-crusted their eyes. Quick Bites & Sweets Teado Tea Shop Location: 145D Hester St, New York, NY 10002 Website: Teado Tea Shop This adorable little shop is the perfect place for Asian style snacks like onigiri, rain drop cakes and so much more. There’s some very interesting flavors of boba tea that you can sip on whilst flipping through their small selection of manga. Personally, I just adore the calming piano music playing in the background. It makes me feel like I’m living in some super cheesy romance Anime and it’s great.
Macaron Parlour – Lower East Side Location: 44 Hester St, New York, NY 10002 Website: Macaroon Parlour Go for the instagram pictures, stay for “The Giggity” a macaroon featuring chocolate, peanut butter, dulce de leche and marshmallow fluff. Yep. It’s okay, I nearly cried when I read description too.
Dinner Rice & Gold Location: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013 Website: Rice & Gold I mentioned it above but I’m mentioning it again because it was THAT good. We had such an incredible brunch here that later, the same night, we decided to try it for dinner and every single thing we ate was out of this world. My suggestion: try the banana bread pudding. You can thank me later.
Tang Hotpot Location: 135 Bowery, New York, NY 10002 Website: Tang Hotpot prepare to spend an exorbitant amount of money here, but also prepare to have some of the most delicious hotpot you’ve ever had.
WHERE TO SHOP
Stationary CW Pencil Enterprise Location: 15 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 Website: CW Pencil Enterprise if you’re a fellow stationary lover like myself, welcome to your personal heaven. These people take pencils very seriously. With a wall of countless pencils to choose from, it’ll make you want to take up their suggestion to start collecting pencils from around the world. My favorite area however, was the back room filled with stickers. Adulthood sucks way less when a couple stickers get involved.
Paper Source – Soho Location: 83 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 Website: Paper Source slightly more expensive and a lot more main stream but another great spot for stationary lovers. They have some gorgeously crafted cards, calendars, notebooks, you name it!
Clothing Soho Shopping is some of the best for clothing. There are countless places to shop in every price range from thrift stores to Chanel. I recommend just exploring streets such as Spring, Crosby, Broadway Prince, Kenmare, Mercer and Broome in Lower Manhattan and see what strikes your fancy! But if you’re totally lost, check out some of my suggestions to get you started!
Housing Works Thrift Shop Location: 130 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012 Website: Housing Works If you’re into the more ethical route or shopping on a budget, you’ll definitely want to check out Housing Works. Surrounded by the more main stream shops like Free People and Zara, this is the perfect little getaway to find that vintage gem. But before scouring endless racks of second hand clothes, be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Thrifting, to help you score the best pieces without the frustration! Everlane – Soho Location: 28 Prince St, New York, NY 10012 Website: Everlane If you’re looking to shop ethically but not exactly into the second hand approach, check out Everlane. It’s definitely a lot more expensive than thrifting, but you can feel good about putting your dollar towards a company that’s doing their part for humanity.
Galeria Melissa Location: 500 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 Website: Galeria Melissa the draw of this little Brazilian shoe store is not only their unique (and affordable) designs but also the way they creatively weave art into their decor! Last year, hundreds of stars adorned the ceiling of their Soho location and instagrammers everywhere flocked to this place just to snap a picture amongst this manmade galaxy. This place prizes art just as much as they do shoes so keep it on your radar for their next installation or a great new pair of kicks.
Make Up Glossier Location: 123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013 Website: Glossier To be honest, I’m not even into makeup but even I can’t resist the call of Glossier. Their flagship store in Lower Manhattan is one of the most instagrammable places in all of New York. There’s always a line to get in, but once you do, you don’t regret it. Shop all the cult favorites or just snap some cute pictures with their giant tubes of boybrow. It’s like walking into a super aesthetic cave with fantastic lighting.
For the Home Coming Soon Location: 37 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 Website: Coming Soon Despite the name, this shop is currently open for business. I’m still trying to decide whether or not the name is actually genius, but either way check it out for some quirky additions to the home including a free the nipple door mat or a ridiculously expensive but gorgeously pink velvet chair. The Sill Location: 84 Hester St, New York, NY 10002 Website: The Sill This adorable shop is really only practical if you’re headed home by train or actually living in Manhattan because it’s filled with every kind of plant imaginable! However, it’ll have you smiling before you even walk in the door with their huge window boasting “plants make people happy!” Check out one of their in store or online workshops for plant care or check up on their plant of the month. And if you really fall in love with that giant palm plant, they ship nation wide!
THINGS TO DO See a Concert Location: 6 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002 Website: Bowery Ballroom The Bowery Ballroom is certainly a little grungey, but that’s totally the draw. They often feature a lot of lesser known artists who’s tickets are super affordable. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be standing (or hopefully dancing) all night. And if you’re short, get there nice and early to score a spot up front.
Sing Karaoke Location: 161 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013 Website: Baby Grand If you’re looking for karaoke, especially in Chinatown, there are no shortage of places! However, my favorite spot is actually in Soho and it’s called Baby Grand! This karaoke bar & art gallery is cozy, and by cozy I mean TINY, especially when tons of booze fueled singers are packing the place out, but that’s part of the charm! It’s just around the corner from the Nomo Soho and it’s a sure fire way to have an unforgettable night.
Take a Yoga Class at Skyting Yoga – Chinatown Location: 17 Allen St, New York, NY 10002 Website: Skyting Yoga Let’s face it, you’re in New York. It’s likely you’ll be drinking a little too much, staying up a little too late and indulging in some ridiculously sweet concoctions only New Yorkers can come up with. So why not sweat it all out and find some inner peace. With multiple locations all over Lower Manhattan, this is one of the most gorgeous places to get your flow on in all of New York. It’s no secret by this point that I’m a big fan of city views and this one is unlike any other. Between the spacious, white brick interior and the endless greenery, it feels like doing yoga in some magical jungle on a cloud. The instructors are amazing and the classes will totally kick your butt (in the best way!) Just take the elevator up to the highest floor… or maybe the stairs for a pre-yoga booty lift.
So that’s my guide to Lower Manhattan! What are some of your favorite New York City hotspots that I might’ve missed? To see more of these places in detail, make sure to check out some of the videos below for an inside look! Happy travels everyone, until next time!
“BIRTHDAY SURPRISE GONE WRONG” – NEW YORK TRAVEL VLOG
“GOOD MORNING NYC” – BIRTHDAY WEEKEND AT THE NOMO SOHO
Back in June, for my boyfriend Jeff’s birthday, we decided to spend the weekend at a hotel in NYC called Stewart Hotel. I found a pretty nice deal on Groupon and we packed our bags for a weekend in the big apple! To be honest, we had a few moments there that left a little to be desired, but overall, I’d say we had a great experience! Today I’ll be sharing my honest review of the hotel, talking you through the good and the bad, so you can make your own decision next time you come to New York!
THE LOCATION: The first great thing that we loved about Stewart Hotel, was how close it was to the Penn Train Station! When we left the station, there was no need to call for a taxi or an Uber because the walk brought us there within minutes! That’s a major plus when traveling, especially around New York where taxi’s and Ubers can get pricey but the subway isn’t always the most convenient. If I can walk somewhere, and quickly, I’m a happy girl! (especially when I’m wearing heels just as tall as the New York skyscrapers.)
The location was also great because it was minutes from Times Square, perfect if you like the real hustle and bustle of NYC. It was also a quick drive to the heart of the calmer Chelsea area, one of my personal favorite places in Manhattan! This made it easy to get to attractions like the High Line,the Flatiron Building or Bryant Park.
The surrounding area of the Stewart was another win! There were plenty of delicious restaurants right around the block or just a short walk away. We personally fell in love with places like The Little Beet, by Chloe and OF COURSECha Cha Matcha which I recently featured in my blog post about finding jeans for a big booty! We got into the city on a Friday night and noticed that there was a really lively crowd out and about. I’m personally love going wherever the action is, so I liked that aspect! It wasn’t the craziest of areas though, and it certainly felt safe where we were.
THE DECORATIONS & AMBIANCE:
One of the things that attracted me to the Stewart Hotel right off the bat was the amazing decorations! As you first walk into the hotel, the lobby is pretty stunning with grand, high ceilings and seating areas that look more like artwork than a place to sit down! And everything from the hallways to the elevators felt wonderfully luxurious.
Then we got into our room! Huge flowers covered one of the walls from floor to ceiling and that was an extra little touch that Jeff and I loved!
There were a few issues with our room to discuss but before we get to that, there was plenty we loved about it! First off, the size was pretty great for what we paid for! With the Groupon it came to about $150 a night, and in New York City, especially where we were, that’s a pretty nice deal! With that said, often times you pay that price or more and get a bed crammed in so tightly to the room, you wonder how they even managed to get it in there. But this room was HUGE! We had a little kitchenette, a giant bed, 2 tv’s (not that we used them) and a living room area!
Jeffy being cute on our couch
THE RESTAURANT & BAR:
We didn’t get a great chance to experience the Stewart’s restaurant but I think it’s worth mentioning that they have one! We did, however, head over to the bar before we left just to relax a bit before leaving. It was a really cool set up with bright neon lights and great service! Again, we were so busy, I wish we had more time to check everything out, but from what we saw of it, we were impressed!
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT STEWART HOTEL-
So, as much as we liked our room, there was one issue that we had to resolve. On our first night there, the window air conditioning unit started to make a really high pitched squeaking noise that woke us out of our sleep. It wasn’t the biggest deal, but we asked for help resolving it the next day and a very sweet man came up to look into it. He played around with some buttons and though it didn’t seem like he did much, the squeaking stopped and he offered us a bottle of wine for our troubles! We were very grateful!
And then not 10 minutes later, the noise started up again.
We were about to hit the town for dinner so we decided to ask about it again later when we got back. That night, a different man came to help us out. This guy hardly did a thing. I’m not exaggerating when I say he hardly even touched it before saying basically there was nothing he could do about it. He offered us a bottle of wine as well and then promised he’d have someone call us within the hour. No one ever called.
By this point we were ready to leave and the issue had never truly been resolved. Not to mention, we were a little annoyed that we’d waited on someone calling us and never heard back. But in the end, after we explained our issues to the manager, we were given another free bottle of wine, and they took a bunch of fees off our bill, including the room service we ordered the morning before. I don’t expect every situation to be perfect. Accidents and mistakes happen all the time, but how an establishment responds to such mistakes goes a long way in terms of how I feel about them ultimately!
In the end we were happy with the way they compensated for the mishaps and the pro’s far outweighed the cons! The next time you’re in NYC, I’d recommend giving the Stewart Hotel a shot! Just don’t be afraid to politely speak up if something is going wrong!
So what do you think? Would you give the Stewart hotel a shot, or do you have another favorite place to stay in New York City? Let me know down below!
with peace, love and pixie dust, -Veronica Disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links. This means that I get to continue making fabulous content for you by making a small commission off of anything you happen to purchase through me, at no extra cost to you! Thank you!
Strolling through NYC, enjoying a drink at Cha Cha Matcha, I couldn’t believe I’d finally found a pair of jeans I loved so much. Honestly I felt like doing a cha cha with delight! The color, the cut, the fit, and the way they cup the booty… holy guacamole. I don’t want to exaggerate here, but if Jesus Himself were to return in the form of denim, I’d be willing to believe this is the pair of pants He would be embodying. Now the fact that I’m so jazzed over jeans though is quite out of character for me. Because historically, I’ve always hated them. Anytime I stood in the dressing room of an Abercrombie staring in the mirror at my suffocated pancake booty, I felt thoroughly horrible about myself. If, by the grace of God, I could squeeze my butt and thighs into that denim prison, I could have a full blown party in the waist section. But if the waist fit, I’d be lucky to get them up past my knees. And the situation happening between my thighs would have every camel on the planet fearing for their toes.
i’ll leave the flattening to the flatiron district… not my pants.
Furthermore, if, like me, 90% of your body is just butt, you’re no stranger to how evil low rise jeans can be. Bend over one time and your undies, or heaven forbid your crack, is on full display like a sad, humiliating billboard. My cheeks are like a wild, majestic bird. They will not be caged. Which is why my personal style has always gravitated more towards dresses. People ask me all the time why I’m always so “dressed up” due to my choice of ensembles. But it’s not my intention to be so fancy all the time, I’m just trying to let these thunder thighs do their thing in peace, you feel? But I’m here today to tell you, that if you too suffer from badonkadonk-itis, there is hope. I’ve simply decided that from now on, the higher the waist, the better. I don’t care if the world considers them to be “mom jeans,” give me an SUV and a stern look that could kill if that’s the case, but I don’t want my muffin tops exploding over the edges of my pants. Modern day mom jeans are SEXY! They accentuate the waist and let your legs breathe while still preserving a great silhouette! The trouble was, up until very recently it’s been hard to find anything that catered to these needs. It’s strange and sad that body parts can go in and out of style, but it’s only in recent history that junk in the trunk has been so heavily praised. Just a few years ago it was a practical sin to sport a sizeable sit-upon. But as the Beyoncé’s and the Kim K’s of the world started rising up, so did the zipper length on jeans. And these days, we’re all still asking the same question: “does this make my butt look big?” The difference is, it’s no longer asked in fear, but rather with wide, hopeful eyes. Which means that those of us with wide, bloated thighs can rejoice!
So here’s the situation. Now, more than ever, I’d argue there are so many options available to ALL body types. The key is figuring out your proportions and what makes you feel fantastic. You don’t need to box yourself in by conforming to the current standard. I had closed myself off from a whole world of fashion simply because I was stuck in the mindset of low-rise skinnies that clearly weren’t working. There are COUNTLESS cuts, styles, colors, etc., out there for your exploration! Mid-rise, low-rise, high-rise, flare, bootleg, dark wash, light wash, you name it!
And don’t even get me STARTED on jeggings! I can guarantee, there’s something out there that will hit you in all the right places. I can’t promise it’ll be easy to find, but I’m confident it’s out there. So ladies, go out and try something new! Find a way to celebrate your body as opposed to hiding it away or clamping it down! After all… life is booty-ful.
Hello world! This past weekend my friends and I met up at the beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival in Brooklyn. I went last year with my friend Alex and we couldn’t wait to see it again! Sadly, I think the long, hard winter kept the tree’s from really blooming so there weren’t quite as many Cherry Blossoms this year. However, the grounds were still covered with so many amazing trees and flowers as far as the eye could see! I swear I could go to the Gardens everyday and never get bored!
Since everything was of course Sakura themed (cherry blossom in Japanese) there were so many Japanese snacks to try and a whole Japanese Market that sold everything from kimonos to pottery! It was beautiful and I couldn’t help but indulge in some sweet sticky rice treats with red bean paste (one of my all time favorites!) This year I also tried onigiri with salmon. It was my first time and it was AWESOME!
I really wanted to let the Blossoms shine so I kept my outfit pretty simple for the most part with this little white dress from Forever 21. To add a little extra pizazz (because this is me we’re talking about here) I added the fishnets and my straw boater hat from H&M. These black tie up heels from Forever 21 are the perfect height and despite wearing them ALL day trekking in and out of Brooklyn, they never hurt my feet! The white sunnies from Urban Outfitters also added a very vintage feel which I appreciated and to finish everything off I added my whicker basket bag from Etsy.
under the beautiful Magnolia trees
Later that day Jeffy brought me to The Yellow Magnolia Cafe for lunch. We had a FANTASTIC meal between the very interesting mustard greens soup (which apparently the chef whipped up on a whim after accidentally receiving a huge order of mustard greens!) and tarot chips, and then a lovely smoked salmon platter with creme fraiche and pita! YUM!
The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful, it was an absolutely lovely day!