Thursday, December 15, 2016

Winter Is Coming: Sweater Dresses & Boots

Wow. Okay. I haven't done this in awhile. It's been one of those semesters where I haven't really had a moment to just stop and breathe- as soon as whatever I had to get done finally got done, there was another thing that needed to be dealt with immediately after, and another, and now I here I am in December, nearly finished with my next to last semester at NYU. I've also been rotating in the same T-shirt dress + kimono combo for the last three months so I haven't really felt compelled to write an outfit post, but I was recently inspired after a long overdue shopping spree (thank you @ Black Friday sales!!) and here we are. I've pretty much been living in this sweater dress + military coat + over the knee boots combination- it has style, it's comfortable, and it's just edgy enough to infuse me with a little extra confidence while I run around the city like a maniac.

This black sweater dress is from Tobi and it's probably the best purchase I've ever made- the neckline is cut out to create a choker effect and let me just say, I've never felt so good in a sweater dress. I like to stick to structured waistlines and flared skirts because I think it's the most flattering cut on me but this sweater dress has changed my life. I paired it with extra long gold and crystal earrings for a fun luxe effect- I love the idea of having diamonds in my hair and this is as close as I can get (for now). 

I kept things neutral with my bag- funny story, my mom went and got this satchel in a different shade of grey so we pretty much have matching bags. I'm a huge fan of the gold hardware on this particular bag- Marc Jacob never disappoints. Even though my outfit's relatively simple, I accessorized with just a ring to keep the look from being overwhelmingly complicated.

I love pairing the sweater dress with this long dark green military style coat (Forever 21) because of the contrast between the dress length and the coat length. It's glamorous without trying too hard. And it keeps me warm! Well, warm enough anyway. Black over-the-knee boots (Public Desire) complete the look- longer boots are great for elongating your legs for a really flattering look and honestly, they really do keep your legs warm. There's also something fun about not wearing tights during the winter so I'm going to keep doing that as long as I can without freezing.


I've been able to wear this outfit to class, to work, and even out to holiday parties. It works for everything and anything- which is what you should remember when you see me wearing it every day for the next month. Alright, it's been great procrastinating but I should probably get back to the papers I should be writing. I actually finish with finals pretty soon but I'll be hanging around the city for an extra week because of work so I might end up blogging more. Who knows, it'll be a surprise. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Jersey Brunch Spot: The Corner

Hello hello hello, this is probably the longest I've gone without blogging- the last time I wrote anything, I was still jetting around Europe and busy trying to not to miss flights. Isn't that crazy?? These last few months have just been an insane whirlwind of traveling and packing and then coming home and interning for insane hours, but as of last Friday, I am a free woman again aka I finished interning which means I'm back to my cherished lifestyle of watching Netflix and rolling out of bed into my pool, and of course, instagramming the occasional brunch (like the one pictured below).

I haven't been doing outfit posts because I've been focusing on losing weight- it's surprising just how much weight you can put on when you eat truffle pasta for breakfast for 3 months straight (no regrets though!!!! Never regret truffle pasta. Or truffle anything, for that matter) but anyway, I haven't exactly been inclined to keep up with outfit posts while unhappy with the way I look. On the bright side, in the next month or so, I should be where I want to be in terms of how I look, and yes, how much I weigh, so definitely expect some fun back to school looks in September!

Likewise, I haven't been posting about new favorite food places because I've been trying not to eat out and pretty much making every meal at home aside from a few food dates to maintain my sanity but today, I went to the cutest brunch spot and just knew I had to write about it. The Corner is an adorable cafe in Montclair, New Jersey (yep, Jersey has amazing brunches too) and I'm already planning to head back asap to try one of their fresh pastries with a steaming latte, complete with foam art of course.

The Corner's menu has all the standard brunch favorites like avocado toast (which is what I got) and also changes things up with freshly made pan fried roasted onion dip and organic chicken liver toast. They also have truffled deviled eggs and since I'm a sucker for anything truffled, I ordered them. I've also been meaning to try deviled eggs for the longest time so it was a solid choice.

First of all, the service here is PHENOMENAL. Maybe I've just gotten used to the admittedly shoddy service rampant across the pond, but oh my god, every server was so friendly and quick to offer suggestions or to check in to see how our meal was going. Bad service definitely ruins even the most delicious meal so I loved how incredibly nice everyone was at The Corner. The atmosphere is super lively without being overwhelming- it's definitely a super popular eatery and I can see it getting insanely packed on weekends, but for a Wednesday brunch, it was perfect. I reaaalllllly like it when I don't have to wait for a table.

And of course, I wouldn't be writing about this place if the food wasn't amazing. I always enjoy an avocado toast and this was no exception- they also know how to poach eggs perfectly which I appreciated since an overdone poached eggs is nothing if not disappointing.

My sister got The Corner Burger, which comes with a delicious mountain of crispy shoe string fries seasoned with rosemary as well as with other tasty things, I'm sure. Those fries were heavenly. My dream is to devour a bucket of them and wash them down with the refreshing homemade soda they also serve at The Corner.

I had the strawberry rosemary soda and my sister ordered the pressed lemon soda. I really liked the strawberry rosemary- I was hesitant about it because of the rosemary but it tasted yummy without being sickly sweet. I thought the lemon soda could've been sweeter but I've also got an insane sweet tooth when it comes to drinks so I'm definitely biased.

Oh, and another reason this place is the cutest thing ever???? THEY BAKE FRESH COOKIES EVERY DAY AT 2:30!!! 2:30 cookies are an official item on the menu!! We ordered two of them, not knowing they would be HUGE (we managed to eat half and took the rest to go) and holy, those are some damn good cookies. They remind me of the ones from Levain in New York, which are widely considered to be the best cookies in the city. They're about the size of a fist and incredibly fluffy- the outside is perfectly cooked while in the inside is still softly melting into chocolatey gooey goodness. I can't wait to finish eating mine later.

Basically, The Corner has all the pros of a NYC brunch spot: amazing food, perfect presentation, killer lighting, and none of the cons: overcrowded, tiny, busy. The staff is insanely friendly and the food is so so so fresh and good. The vibes are great (they even have a pink neon sign that says good vibes only) and I can't wait to eat at The Corner again!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring Break Travel Diary: Venice

I know, I know. I haven't written anything on here in an absurdly long time but I've decided to try to recap all of my trips before I fly back to the states next weekend so here we go! It's May now and so much has happened but I'm gonna back track all the way back to the last week of March (moment of silence for me realizing that if I'm still recapping March and it's currently May, I've also still got to recap all of my trips from April) (it's okay, my finals are next week so this is absolutely what I should be doing). My spring break this semester was an absolute whirlwind of traveling- as I've written in my last three blog posts (the brunch places really deserve their own posts, ok), my first stop was Berlin, Germany. Ah Berlin...a city so soft grunge yet classically beautiful in its own right with cute dogs running everywhere. I really do want to go back someday... Anyway, after Berlin, I flew to *drumroll please* Venice, Italy! 

I've always imagined Venice to be a dreamy city and it ended up being exactly that. Venice is old and I wouldn't say it's decaying because that conveys the wrong vibe, but it's pretty much crumbling (in the best way possible). The colorful houses lining the canals are slightly faded and have their fair share of rusty streaks lining their plastered walls while all the windows are either boarded shut or have shutters hanging crookedly open. 

Venice is old and magical and feels like a dream. The cobblestone streets are filled with market stalls displaying both touristy trinkets and fresh knobs of mozzarella. Everything we ate in Venice was scrumptious, although definitely overpriced- that was the one downside to Venice. It's a very tourist-infested city and in spite of its authentic looking exterior, Venice is definitely not a real Italian place in that it almost exclusively caters to tourists and so everything its a bit pricy and just a little bit gimmicky. Still, I loved being in Venice and riding a gondola (it was my dream for the longest time) while watching the dark turquoise water ripple against the many stone bridges suspended over the canals. We were also staying in this tiny hotel with furniture that looked like it came straight out of an episode of The Tudors that had the most amazing view of a canal and even brought us breakfast in the morning. As much as I'm all about the eggs benedict + three various sides life, eating a croissant with Italian coffee while looking down at the water was one of my favorite breakfasts ever.

I really want to say I ate more gelato than any of the other many, many NYU kids on spring break (we all basically traveled to the same places) (it was actually funny/scary how often we ran into people from school all around Europe) but if I'm being honest, Niyousha wins that title. We also tried candied strawberries from a street vendor- they mostly just got stuck in our teeth (but were fun to photograph!!) and of course, lots and lots of pasta. We also went to Cafe Florian, the oldest cafe in Venice and had a lovely cup of very thick, perfect hot chocolate.

I was curious to see if I would feel sad in Venice because I'd read that going there can have a depressing effect, I mean the entire city is sinking after all, but found that it mostly felt like a very nostalgic place. Which makes sense since nostalgia can easily transition into sadness but for me, Venice was a daydream breathed into life. It was almost overwhelming how beautiful every single inch of the city was, both during the day and at night. In the evening, Venice becomes surreal. The moon hangs high in the black sky and you can see all of the city lights reflecting in the canals. I kept trying to photograph / film it, I was attempting to make it so I could relive being in Venice at night but I've learned that somethings really are too beautiful to capture on camera. Okay, that was a little cheesy but it's completely true. 

My time in Venice is a funny story to tell because my friend and I actually missed our train to Florence and had to stay an extra night in Venice. It's the kind of thing that would've had be freaking out and feeling increasingly anxious about just a few months ago but when it happened, I found myself just laughing. We ended up finding a cheap hotel to sleep a few hours in before taking a (scarily) early morning train to Florence and even enjoyed a slice of delicious pizza and some gelato while sitting on a bridge overlooking the canal. It was one of my favorite nights of spring break and I'm feeling a nostalgic pang in my chest as I write all of this. And the crazy thing is, as unbelievably beautiful and amazing Venice was, everything only got better from there.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Brunching in Berlin: Roamers

Berlin is a hidden treasure trove when it comes to brunch spots. My friend Niyousha and I found the prettiest, most tumblr-esque cafe in Berlin at Roamers. They don't even have a website, just a gorgeous Tumblr page with photos of hanging greenery and berries sprinkled over beautiful cakes. Self-described as having "farm house charm with a breeze of California, woody & rustic, stuffed with plants & country music, handcrafted food adorned with a fistful of love", Roamers is what the love child of Brooklyn, Soho, and LA would be after a dreamy affair in a field of succulents. Okay, I'm getting carried away but honestly Roamers is such an artistic and aesthetically pleasing little cafe- my photos definitely don't do this place any justice at all. 

There's greenery everywhere- plants hanging from the ceiling, growing across the walls- it's a sight to behold.

I forget what Niyousha ordered but it was amazing, just look at that skillet. The food here was as delicious as it was artisanal. I'm not really a coffee person so I don't have the best knowledge of what good coffee is but the ones at Roamers tasted pretty amazing. The food was obviously very, very good, and the presentation very much on point.

I ordered the French toast, something I haven't had in years because I always choose to go with a savory brunch over a sweet one but since this was our second brunch of the day (lol) (it still counts as brunch oKAY) I wanted to switch it up. The bread was cut in thick slices that were teetering right between being crunchy and soft and was sprinkled with powdered sugar. There was an artful handful of berries arranged next to the French toast which accompanied the sweetness of the toast perfectly. Ugh, I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

I tried a bite of Niyousha's entree, something with a poached egg in a skillet with tomatoes and red peppers- it was full of flavor and warmed my belly. The salad that came on the side was also fresh and drizzled with a light vinaigrette of some kind that tasted spectacular. If I ever get the chance to return to Berlin, I'm heading to Roamers to order this.

Roamers also has wooden platters covered in rustic, beautiful cakes. All of the cakes are decorated with sprigs of greenery and have berries strewn artfully across and around them. We came with every intent of devouring a slice of the carrot cake but tragically were too full (a fatal downfall) and I really wish we had been able to because they looked so, so delicious.

Roamers is an artsy Tumblr brought to life in cafe/brunch form and I'm in love with it. If you get the chance to be in Berlin, I highly recommend swinging by this rustically artsy brunch spot. It's tiny and very reminiscent of the crowded cafes in SoHo so there may be a line but trust me, Roamers is worth the wait.

Hurrah! My second (and last) brunch post from Berlin is now complete! It's so weird to be writing about a place I was weeks ago but it's been hard to try and keep up while still traveling. I'm actually currently sitting at a Joe & The Juice (the coffee shake is to die for) in an airport in Iceland, of all places. Don't worry, I'll be writing about Iceland soon enough. But first, I've still got to cover Venice, Florence, and Nice. What can I say? Spring break was the trip of a lifetime.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Brunching in Berlin: Datscha

My favorite discovery over spring break was finding out that Berlin is more of a brunch hotspot than I ever expected it to be. Although Niyousha and I's original 'brunching in Berlin' plan was to try Silo Coffee, a popular cafe dominating Berlin food bloggers' Instagrams, we ended up at Datscha, a quirky Russian eatery in Friedrichshain.  Silo Coffee was apparently having issues with its pipes and water the one day we wanted to try their photogenic brunch entrees. Starving and a bit sleep deprived, I needed food desperately. The other restaurants we had researched online were in the opposite direction we'd just come from and it felt silly to walk back when there were plenty of other eateries around us. After scanning the many menus tacked to the restaurants' walls and attempting to gauge the atmosphere, we ended up at Datscha. And oh boy oh boy, it might've been the best brunch of my life. 

While our empty stomachs were definitely a factor in why Datscha was so delicious and fulfilling, I still think Datscha had amazing food and I wish I could go back immediately. We ordered two entrees, including the Datscha (chicken filet backed with tomato and cheese, scrambled eggs, homemade Russian ham, Jamon Serrano with honey melon, beetroot carpaccio with parmesan butter and a breadbasket) and the Blintschiki (Russian pancakes with homemade jam, fruit, and sour cream). We also ordered Russian dumplings, I forget the exact kind and it's not available on the menu online but I assure you they were absolutely heavenly. 

Our brunch at Datscha was basically our second meal in Berlin and away from London and it did not disappoint (British food really gets to you after awhile). The restaurant itself was interesting, with quips about communism/socialism in the menu (lol) and colorful glassware stacked against the windows. If Datscha was in New York, it would have a line out the door every weekend, and you'd 100% find me in that line.

My tastebuds are getting sad just remembering how scrumptious the dumplings were and how perfectly thin yet filling the blini were- I was also super excited about finally trying blini because some of my favorite historical fiction novels are about Russian royalty and ALL of them have mentioned blini at some point. There's a funny quote in a book about Anastasia from the Romanov sisters joking that Anastasia was going to turn into blini if she ate anymore. Blini is buttery and soft and you can spread jam across it, you can add fruit, you can roll it up, you can literally do whatever you want with it and it tastes amazing. I wish I could turn into blini. Just look at those perfect folds. Ugh.

Now I've got just one more 'brunching in Berlin' post to write! I'm currently stranded at the airport (it's a long story) (ok it's actually a short story but it's embarrassing to explain so let's just leave it at that) (I'm shaking my head at myself, I promise) so I definitely have the time to keep writing. HOWEVER, I also have three (!!!) episodes of Grey's Anatomy AND How to Get Away With Murder to catch up on. I've also got limited battery power, since I wasn't expecting to need a plug adapter at the airport. It's true, I'm a bit of a mess but to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Guten Tag y'all! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Break 2016 Travel Diary: Berlin

Berlin was freakin' BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING and DELICIOUS. I really didn't expect to like Berlin as much as I did- I mean I figured I'd try some schnitzel and get a photo in front of the East Side Gallery and then just hang around until flying to the place I really wanted to go: Italy. Instead, I found myself surrounded by pastel rows of rainbow houses and enjoying some of the best food I've had since studying abroad (sorry @London). I spent my spring break traveling with a lovely Kappa sister and friend, Niyousha, and we later met up with other Kappas in Florence and Nice. Berlin was really only on our itinerary for visa reasons but ended up being one of my favorite cities in Europe. 

The people were almost excessively friendly and we had a relatively easy time navigating the cobblestoned streets. And the food, my God, it was all so cheap and delicious! It's no secret that London is pricey and while I'm not super picky about what I eat, let's just say the food in London has had me forgetting that flavor exists. We had two amazing brunches in addition to multiple trips to Scheers Schnitzel (thank you Liza for telling us to get schnitzel with mushroom sauce, THE MUSHROOM SAUCE IS MY LIFE), I loved the brunch spots in Berlin so much there'll be separate posts covering them both. I really felt like we got to explore our corner of Berlin thoroughly- we had no schedule or plans, we would basically pick a place to eat and see what we would run into during our journey to food. A few of my favorite sights included this river we randomly found and ended up walking along both before and after we ate- just look at those colors, ugh.

I think I thought Berlin would be a lot grittier and darker than it actually turned out to be. Everything was surprisingly bright and even delicate- there was a lot of graffiti and wall art but most of the ones we found were the eye-catching kind Instagram addicts in New York flock to take photos in front of (we were no exception in Berlin). I'm pretty sure we took more photos in Berlin than anywhere else we travelled to during Spring Break. Our catch phrase in Berlin was 'soft grunge' because for us, nothing captured Berlin more thoroughly than those two words. It was also fun to say.

I'm still obsessed with the colorful buildings dotting the streets of Berlin. Full disclosure, I'm probably going to be instagramming my photos from Berlin/ spring break in general for the rest of the semester, THERE'S TOO MANY GOOD ONES I AM SORRY. 

Another place we accidentally stumbled upon in Berlin was an open market set up in what we swear was an abandoned lot just 2 hours ago when we first walked by. I think it was called Urban Spree, there were a few signs hanging around the area. The stalls had your typical flea market wares as well as some cool jewelry stands. I loved these wooden plates displaying delicate rings placed in white grains of rice- I was tempted to pick up a few trinkets for friends but was worried about running out of Euros before I was even halfway through spring break (sorry friends). 

I think my favorite memory from Berlin aside from the two amazing brunches Niyousha and i enjoyed was having a glass of wine on a boat. While heading to the East Side Gallery, we were checking out the water when we realized there was a bar located on a boat right in front of us. After ordering a drink each, we found seats next to the railing and in the sunlight. I love rivers and oceans and any form of water, really, so drinking next to the sparkling river was something I really enjoyed. A friend from home recently asked me how my spring break was, and after joking that "it was great, I never want to do it again" (traveling is tiring yo), I talked a lot about how I felt more grounded. Okay, okay I know the whole 'traveling to find yourself' is a an overplayed cliche but honestly, these past 10 days had me feeling a lot more like my old self, a self that was at peace and trusted that everything would always work out. Leaving for London and being away has had me feeling unbelievably happy and spring break was both a reminder of how much I've grown as well as a realization of how much longer I've got to go.

(I made a new friend in Berlin)

I've been avoiding using the phrase "I'm having the time of my life" because that definitely doesn't accurately depict my experience of studying abroad in London. When it comes to spring break though, it's the first thing that comes to mind. Don't get me wrong- spring break wasn't always perfect or mind blowing every second of every day. It was stressful keeping track of flights/train schedules and exhausting waking up early, I've also become (or maybe I've always been) the type of person who likes to do most things alone so it was tough to try to balance that desire to be alone with traveling with a friend as best as I could. For me, spring break was equally challenging and enjoyable. Most importantly, my travels were unbelievably full of moments that took my breath away and instilled an absolute sense of gratitude for being alive and being able to experience everything I was. There's a quote I love, "Do you ever realize how badly you're going to miss a moment while you're living it? Like wow, these are the good days. I am here and I am happy and I feel alive", I'm not sure who the author is, I've just seen it floating around on Tumblr, but it essentially sums up how I felt during spring break, beginning in Berlin. If you've read this far down, thank you for letting my share my thoughts with you- I think this is one of my lengthiest posts. Alright, I'm going to get started on writing those brunch posts I keep promising are on their way. Happy hump day and Auf Wiedersehen!