This past Friday, while sifting through magazines and food websites, I decided it was time to try “the best bagel” in Manhattan. So after researching some of “the best bagels,” I decided that we would try out “Absolute Bagels” on the Upper West Side (108th and Broadway). I liked it because it seemed gritty, authentic, unique, and off the beaten path. I like bagels — don’t necessarily love them — but holy smokes, these bagels were AMAZING and I cannot wait to return. Absolute Bagels has been run by a Thai couple for the past 27 years and although a typical bagel shop with all the different cream cheese offerings, they also have thai iced tea. Perfect random touch. It did not disappoint.
A huge line outside — mostly Columbia University students — but a mish mash of people. The lady in front of us waited in line for ONE bagel.
In the past month, I have had a lot of screen time (even more than normal pandemic increased screen time). Here are the movies and shows that I have enjoyed watching.
1. The Blind Side
A MUST WATCH WITH THE KIDS! I saw this movie ages ago (when it came out) but we watched it as a family this past week and it was hands down a winner for all of us. A must watch.
My favorite addition to the Upper East Side is the Israeli Gelato place, Anita Gelato. Everything about Anita is perfection; the atmosphere, the service, the packaging, and most of all, the gelato. It is unlike anything I have ever tasted and crave it regardless of the cold temperatures. It is truly AMAZING.
Look how gorgeous!
Since May, I have been utterly and totally obsessed with needlepointing. I cannot stop and love it so much. I find it meditative and calming….both the process as well as the finished product. Recently, I finished the canvas of Notorious BIG and sent it to an amazing upholster who made it in to a footstool. I love it SO very much that I wanted to share with you all!
Homemade Hummus! I have never made hummus before and in the last three days, this is the second batch. It is so easy and even better, so delicious! A must make!
February is a bizarre month — it is the shortest, feels the longest, yet is gone before I know it. So here is what I am loving this month (before it is March — hip hip hooray, Spring, we cannot wait!)
1. In & Of Itself
Identity is an illusion. I don’t want to say much because it is best to go in to this movie / documentary / performance blind. It is absolutely incredible, 100% worth watching, and afterwards, read this and this. Available on hulu. Powerful.
As mentioned a couple weeks ago when we ventured to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to eat Italian Food, we visited Queens several times to try out the “Best Dumplings in the City.” I am not a big chinese food or dumpling fan, but these dumplings from Dumpling Galaxy live up to their name and are absolutely incredible. I loved them so much that a week later, I went solo to get some for the family to eat for the Chinese New Year — they are absolutely incredible.
Right now, Dumpling Galaxy is shut down and only serving at a pop up store — a window next to a Chinese Food Market. Dumpling Galaxy is located in Flushing (past the airport) and only locals are there shopping and eating. When we were there, dozens of people ordered dumplings and the flow was nonstop!
One of the perks of living in New York is the random things you can order to your doorstep — the most recent discovery was an avocado dude. You literally order online and he delivers avocados (and limes) straight to your door. They are not just any avocados but the most perfectly ripe and delicious avocado. Since 2014, Davocado Guy has been delivering avocados to restaurants in the NYC area — and in 2019, they expanded to home delivery of avocados to everyone, not just restaurants.
The perfect avocado. You can select which ripeness you want: ripe, semi, and green.
Remember last week when I mentioned my dear friend who is ALWAYS in the know of beauty and skincare products? Well she amazingly offered to write up her CURRENT beauty favorites! I am so so so excited to share them with you — and thank you so much, Alicia! May we all have your incredible glowing skin, chic taste in everything, and style — you are one of a kind — love you oh so much!
1. Hermes Lipstick
Hermes lipstick- love it! I am more of a matte lipstick person so I love all the matte ones. Love the colors, great pinks and number 11 is the best natural color. Love the texture, design, and fragrance. They do everything so perfectly!
I first heard about Augustinus Bader skin care products from a dear friend that knows EVERYTHING about skincare. Anything she ever recommends, I always have to try out, because she is the queen of beauty. The moment I tried it, I was hooked. I am a devoted Augustinus Bader fan and will forever use their “the cream” on my face. Since I started using their face moisturizer (for over 3 years), they have since come out with many more products. Each of them are as good as the next. I am a huge fan of their new lip balm (feels like satin for your lips) and their body cream (heaven — it’s expensive, so I rotate with GOOPgenes butter).
My favorite trio: body cream, the cream, and lip balm. Luxuriously hydrating and effective.
My favorite blog contributor (and dear friend), Katie, is here to take it away! Katie always has gems, treasures and stories to share with us, and we are all so lucky to have her contribute to this blog. I always learn so much from her — bits and pieces I never knew I needed to know — thank you so much, Katie! Read more to find out all about pomegranates! Promise you will learn so much!
Over the extremely cold weekend, I plopped myself on the couch mid day and watched the newly released movie “Our Friend.” I was intrigued by the movie with its stellar cast (Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck, Jason Segel), but had no idea that it would be such a realistic, beautiful and highly emotional movie. I sobbed — hysterical tears, and then spent the rest of the evening researching the movie and the real life characters. I loved it and highly recommend it. Warning — for those of you with cancer or who have a friend or family member with cancer, it might be extremely triggering. The movie is a true story based on a young mother dying of cancer and her husband and best friend’s life taking care of her.
The best friend, Dane, and the daughters.
It is based off of the husband’s essay he wrote for The Esquire Magazine in 2015. “It was a routine death in every sense. It was ordinary. Common. The only remarkable element was Dane. I had married into this situation, but how had he gotten here? Love is not a big-enough word. He stood and faced the reality of death for my sake. He is my friend.”—Matthew Teague, “The Friend.” The movie shows how pure and special the friendship Dane has with both Matthew and Nicole — and we should all hope to have a friend like Dane in our life. Or to be a friend like Dane — someone truly kind, selfless, and supportive.
Stellar performances from all actors. And more important, a realistic and heartbreaking account of death, being sick, and the love and care from others.
I absolutely loved this movie and want to watch it again. It is that good. It is raw, honest, and beautiful. To read the review, go here. To read the actual essay (extremely beautiful and a MUST READ after you watch the movie) go here, and to read more about where Matthew and Dane are now, go here. You can watch “Our Friend” on demand for a fee of $20, and it is worth every cent.
One of my favorite accounts to follow on instagram is NYC based florist, Lewis Miller. He puts together beautiful floral arrangements with a great sense of style and eye — but mostly, I love him for his flower flashes he creates in the city. Initially, Lewis started these flashes as an experiment to reconnect himself with the craft, but then quickly saw the beautiful shared experience with New Yorkers and what joy and beauty it brought to everyone. So they became his gift to New Yorkers — with his goal to create “a positive, emotional response through flowers, and that seeing people’s reactions to the flashes emphasizes the basic goodness in all people and prioritizes compassion.”
Yesterday, I saw on my insta feed, that he had done his first 2021 installation at Hudson Yards. So, immediately, ran down there to see it. He wrote that he wanted something fun and playful for the kids of the city — and that it is. Different, fun, and beautiful.
I am fully 100% addicted to The White Moustache Date yogurt. It is unlike anything I have ever tried and I will climb mountains, swim across oceans, run hundreds of miles — anything — to get to this yogurt. Made in Hudson Valley, NY, this yogurt is made with love, care, and exceptional quality ingredients — you can tell both in the cost of the jar ($6.50 per jar) and taste. It is far superior to generic brand yogurt bought in the grocery store — and is worth every penny.
I always am in shock when I spent $20 on three jars of yogurt — but then when I taste it, I am so happy. It is worth it.
New year, and more time to put effort in to my reading. Here is what I want to read this Winter (because there is literally nothing else to do besides watch Cobra Kai and Bridgerton)…..
1. What Kind of Woman
I know people think that candles are an impersonal gift, but I personally love them and can never have too many. To me, they are the PERFECT gift. A little token of love that keeps on giving! Every time I light a candle, I remember where / who / what and think back to a memory with the given smell. I also have a cabinet of candles, as you never know when you need a last minute gift. So, here is my list of favorite candles!
1. D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain
One of my favorite scents — have it as soap, hand sanitizer, and as candles. It is light and refreshing and I never get sick of it.
Recently, I have been on a needlepoint kick. I can’t stop! I can sit there for hours, just needlepointing. It is relaxing, at the same time as being stressful. But in the end, I love the enjoyment of creating something from scratch. In the past two months, I have thoroughly enjoyed making a series of “duds” and “dudes,” and then making them in to coasters. I made each bit of them by hand — they look it, too — but I secretly love the organic, roughness of it. You can tell that someone made them, and I love that part of it. So now, we have fun and wacky new coasters for our home — I just need to have a party (thanks, COVID!)
This is my little nook, where I spent a big portion of the day…..
Since fresh flowers are one of the things that bring me joy, I decided that this year, I would make my way down to the Flower District in NYC (28th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues) on a weekly basis. Ever since I made that commitment (to myself), I have gone every. single. Monday. Literally, rain or shine, I figure out a way to pack it in to my schedule. I have walked there, taken cabs, or most often, I run there. I love this adventure so much — not just because I get the freshest of fresh flowers at a great cost, but also, because I get to meet new people and see the city. I now have a guy at my flower shop and he knows I come every week, so he always tells me what is the freshest and even gives me discounts. These small little interactions, and the fresh blooms, are what keep me going — pandemic, gloomy weather, remote learning, feelings of isolation, nothing to do — it’s the little things that make the big difference.
This past Monday, it was SOOOO rainy and dark. But, nothing stopped me.
Our new puppy, Stevie, needed a haircut for the first time last week, so I was introduced to the mobile spa, Hair of the Dog, by a fellow dog owner. This female owned small business is literally an RV that comes to YOU and does the trim / nails / teeth in the RV in front of the apartment. Not only is it super convenient, but the employees are extremely kind. We will definitely return to them for Stevie’s next haircut. And I highly recommend this company if you (a) live in NYC (b) want to support small businesses and (c) want a great experience for your animal.
They text you when they are five minutes away and they parked half a block from us.
What a joyful weekend! An absolute historical day that continues to bring me to tears and gives a sense of hope and renewal. Here are some of my favorite videos, memes, quotes from over the weekend.
1. Kamala calling Joe Biden
Chills, tears, a MUST watch. I watched it dozens of times…
I am a sucker for pumpkin spice (yep, I am one of those ladies who love pumpkin spice lattes and anything pumpkin flavored) so after seeing many posts and reviews about the pumpkin bread from Smitten Kitchen, I decided to make some of my own — and it did NOT disappoint. So delicious and yummy, and so easy to make. I will definitely make this throughout the fall and winter seasons and highly recommend that you all do the same, as well!
* 1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
* 1/2 cup neutral cooking oil or melted butter
* 3 large eggs
* 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
* Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* Two pinches of ground cloves
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Crunchy, refreshing, tasty, light, and nutty. So good, so good. The salad is great on its own, or combined with other Asian flavors. The creator of this salad, my-sister-from-another-mister, likes to add this with her miso salmon, rice, and scallions. I love it alone or with anything. And even better — it takes only a couple of minutes to make!
Mini cucumbers are delicious plain, but even better with this sesame asian dressing.
Every Wednesday, I drive several hours to visit my sister-from-another-mister for the day. Despite my distaste in driving, I absolutely love and cherish our time together and wouldn’t miss this time in the world. Therefore, I have begun to embrace the time spent in the car. During these hours in the car, I have renewed my love of podcasts and cry / laugh / feel while listening to them. Here are my recent podcasts I have listened to and have *thoroughly* enjoyed. It is never too late to listen to them, they are all so good.
Truly family. I feel so fortunate that our family members are all bonded and glued together and the love is deep. There have been moments when all four of us are on separate calls with each of them — all at the same time. So my weekly drives to visit are essential, a no brainer, and worth every second.
One of the ways that my husband, Ken, has dealt with the restrictions of life due to COVID, has been playing music outside in Central Park. Once a month over the summer, Ken would organize to gather in Central Park with 1 or 2 musician friends (one being my best friend from childhood, David) and jam out together. He would text a couple of friends that he was going and if they wanted to swing by and bring their own wine and food, or just to drop by. As I was out in Oregon during these “performances,” I never had the privilege of attending the concerts, but it was clear how much happiness, joy, and life it gave Ken. He lived for these evenings as it renewed a sense of hope in him — cheesy as it sounds, it gave him life. The small interactions with strangers, outside (and safe) encounters with friends, and the music itself, made a huge difference to him. So last week, he put together a last minute park gathering and I finally was able to attend.
Ken has “a spot.” It is where he always gathers to play music. It is near Sheep’s Meadow and The Mall. Not too far away from our home, but still a delightful walk nonetheless.