On My Radar

I've been keeping my eyes keenly attuned to the trends this Fall. And I like what I've been seeing. Here are some things that I think are hot right now:

  • Sheer tops – If done right, a black sheer top revealing a black bra underneath can be really sexy. Wearing a bright colored bra would be crossing the thin line into trashy territory though, so be sure to keep it as classy as possible. This top on the left from Urban Outfitters is my ideal pick.
  • Nails with a little flair – You don't want anything too tacky, but it's acceptable to do a little experimenting with nail color. On InStyle.com, they suggested white nails with a grey shimmer color on the index finger.
  • Fur – I'm

    sure Peta is just thrilled about this, but fur is really in this season. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but I have to admit that there are some styles I like, one being the fur vest on the right from Express(as long as it's faux fur, right?). This may also be a style that is a little tricky for some to pull off. The problem with furry fur is that it may make you look like you're larger than you actually are, and obviously no girl wants that.

  • Lace – Sexy. Enough said.
  • Over-the-Knee Boots – If done right, you won't look like a hooker. I wouldn't suggest wearing 4″” over-the-knee boots with a tight, scandalous skirt or dress because chances are you will be cat-called. I think the boots with no heel or about 2″” heels could dress up a pair of jeans and cute top.
  • Grey and Olive – These two colors are very popular this season. Olive is also one of those colors that happens to look good on almost everyone.
  • Sequins – Skirts, shirts, tank tops, sweaters and scarves, sequins are appearing on all articles of clothing this Fall. I like it because it can dress up something that would ordinarily look a little bland. Here is a skirt from J.Crew that I really like. I would be able to wear it to work or for a night out in the city.

  • Plaid – Yup, it's still in! I'm surprised about this too. Can't say I'm too disappointed though. It's comfy and it makes me feel like I can fit in the hipster crowd 😉

Fall Fall Fall, such a wonderful time of the year. I'm so excited to start layering up!

Tegan and Sara

“”Build a wall of books between us in our bed
Repeat, repeat the words that I know we both said
Relax into the need
We get so comfortable
Remember when I was so strange and likeable
I just want back in your head
I just want back in your head
I'm not unfaithful
But I'll stray””
I was casually listening to Pandora one day when my ears perked up when I heard the song “”Back In Your Head”” by Tegan and Sara. They are a Canadian indie pop/indie rock band. I liked it so much that I immediately found it on YouTube so that I could listen to it again. It surprised me that the image of the thin, pale, scrawny twins with short black hair on the screen were the faces behind the music. I suppose that I shouldn't had been surprised that the sound could come from a unique bunch like those two. I immediately developed a “”girl crush””on the two short little rockers with tattoos covering their translucently white arms. They are so –I hate to use this word but–cute, yet edgy and intriguing at the same time. Something about their image just works, simply put. They're cute without seeming to try. It's refreshing that they're not trying to fit a mold. They're almost like misfits, but they seem to make it work in a laid-back, non-aggressive way. And although the hipster look isn't exactly my style, it suits them well and I dig it. Although their image is a positive addition to their music, it was their songwriting skills and beats that stood out to me in the first place.
Apparently I'm not the only one who has taken a liking to their music; they are one of the four bands in the Honda Civic Tour, traveling with well-known bands like Paramore and New Found Glory. If you're interested and would like to learn more about these artists, check out their website and listen to some of their songs (especially “”Back in Your Head”” and “”Feel It In My Bones””). These young 30-year-olds are very talented, and I plan on following their music career and maybe one day even catch one of their performances. Watch out, they are going to blow up overnight, you just wait.

I’m Baaaaaack!

I’m baaaack! After taking a break from writing for about three months, I’m ready to dive back into things. Everyone needs a break sometimes to reflect, rejuvenate, and come back with new ideas. This time around, not only did I take a break from writing to

invest more time doing other things, I also took a full week off from my full-time job to go cruise around the Caribbean with my parents. And I uh…snagged myself a boyfriend along the way. Crazy how much things can change in a relatively short period of time.

Although I feel a little guilty about letting my blog collect somevirtual dust, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. In addition to all the changes and running around in the past three months, my whole life hasessentiallychanged in the past year, and I don’t think I’ve had a chance to really sit back and look at where I’ve come. Graduating after busting my ass through college being a dedicated student and intern, moving to the city hardly knowing anyone, starting my first “”real”” job out of college, livingoutside of Michiganand away from any family members for the first time in my 23 years of living. Those are a lot of changes, and I think I should finally give myself a little credit.

But now with renewed vigor, I’m ready to sprint back into things. I’m excited about life! I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made that have led to therecent changes in my life, and I’m very much looking forward to my future moves. Watch out for some new blog posts coming your way! 😀

Fried Oreos at Cafeteria

A friend of mine had suggested I go to Cafeteria for brunch for a while, and me anda girlfriend have tried going there for after-work drinks but it was too crowded, so when a group of my friends decided to meet at Cafeteria for dinner and drinks one day last week, I was looking forward to finally trying it out. Every time I go to Cafeteria it is pretty packed and I end up having to head to the basement, which is actually fine with me because it’s cooler and less crowded.

For my pre-meal drink I ordered a raspberry mojito which was tasty. For dinner I ordered the cobb salad and had a few bites of the truffle oil macaroni and cheese that my boyfriend ordered. Both meals were delicious. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was very flavorful. My friend ordered the fish tacos and loved those too.

Of course I couldn’t leave without checking out the dessert menu, and once I did I was locked in for the fried Oreos. Can you believe that I had not had fried Oreos up until about a week ago!? I was definitely missing out. They were like heaven in my mouth. The doughy fried goodness made the Oreo soft, which was actually better accepted by my palate than the usual hard cookie shell.

I can’t say enough good things about fried Oreos, and Cafeteria is definitely a great, posh spot to have them. Even though I probably consumed 1,000 calories on dessert alone, I will admit that it was worth it, at least as an occasional treat.

 

*Cafeteria is located

> at 119 7th Avenue New York, NY 10010

My First Time in San Francisco: Part I

When my boyfriend Kevin offered to use his frequent flyer miles to fly me out with himto San Francisco with him for a long weekend, I immediately said yes. Not only have I never been to San Francisco but I was also looking for a chance for a little getaway with my significant other. Of course I have seen the Californian city in movies and people have told me about it, but it‰غھs never the same as experiencing it yourself. Although, I was told that this past weekend I was visiting wasn't a true representation of San Franciscan weather. While it is normally very foggy, a little dreary, and a little chilly, especiallyinthe evening, the weather when I was in town was in the high 70s with little fog. It was gorgeous, and I really lucked out. Since my boyfriend is a San Franciscan native, one thing we didn't have to worry about was spending time looking up directions and navigating to the next destination.

Friday

We fly out Thursday evening, so we didn't get to San Francisco until early Friday morning. For the first night, Kevin booked a room at the InterContinentalMark Hopkins Hotel. We were deliriously tired, so after ordering room service we passed out, but in the morning I was able to fully admire and appreciate the 4.5 star hotel at which we were staying, “”a historic San Francisco landmark situated at the crest of famed Nob Hill and at the intersection of three cable car lines.””

My favorite part of the room was the huge bathroom with a large tub. For breakfast, we went to the Top of the Mark for the exquisite panoramic view. The buffet-style brunch

wasn't the best, but the view certainly made up for it. I took some great pictures of from our table overlooking the city.

After breakfast, Kevin and I picked up a dozen cupcakes from Kara‰غھs Cupcakes and SusieCakes Bakery to take to Kevin‰غھs colleagues (Unfortunately, since I wanted to make a good first impression and not seem like a fatass, I held off on my taste test to determine whichcupcakes werebetter). I was able to briefly meet some of his West coast co-workers and check out the office. Their San Francisco office is also conveniently close to the Giant‰غھs stadium, so Kevin also walked me down the street to check it out. We then drove around and I got to take in some more great views.

For dinner that evening we were going to eat at the vegetarian restaurant Greens, bit off the Grid was happening nearby so we were lured in. Off the Grid in Fort Mason isa roaming mobile food extravaganza bringing togetherdozens of food trucks offering different kinds of food. Kevin and I had a lot of fun sampling food from several different trucks including: garlic noodles, empanadas, vegetarian potstickers, and an eggplant taco. There was also live music. I was happy we stumbled upon Off the Grid rather than go to a standard vegetarian restaurant because it‰غھs not something we've done before. I had a good time just walking around to each truck to check out their menu to then decide what I wanted to try most.

Since we turned in early on Friday night and I was still on Eastern time, I woke up early and Kevin and I had breakfast at Mel‰غھs Diner at about 6:30am PST. After a delicious breakfast we took a little siesta before meeting up with one of Kevin‰غھs friends for a hiking adventure. We ended up going to Phoenix Reservoir where we hiked for a few miles and had a picnic lunch by the water. It was the perfect day to go hiking because it was hot and sunny. On the way to the hiking spot, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. I also got to see Crissy Field which isa park that used to be an airfield where people run around, play sports or bring their dog to play. It seems very peaceful and active and the view of the Golden Gate Bridge standing on Crissy Field is incredible as you can see in the pictures below.

For dinner, Kevin and I had the chance to visit with his aunt and have a little pizza party. The view of the city from her deck was amazing. One thing I really like about San Francisco is all the beautiful views even when you‰غھd least expect it. San Francisco in itselfis picturesque.

Stay tuned for the my next post on the rest of my adventures in San Francisco.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving staying in the city was actually a lot of fun this year. I had a delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving feast thanks to Kevin. He made stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and tofurky, and for dessert we had apple pie, sweet potato pie and vanilla bean ice cream. Soooo good! It was my first time having Tofurky and I was surprised how good it tastes. We had a lot of leftovers afterward, so after one day of making sandwiches with all of the leftovers we decided to put the rest in the crockpot with vegetable stock. I wasn’t sure if it would taste any good with a bunch of different flavored and textured food thrown in, but the stew turned out to be really tasty. Everyone knows that one of the biggest perks of Thanksgiving dinner is all of the leftover food to eat over the weekend. At least no food went to waste.

Prior to eating Thanksgiving dinner and after we had watched a little of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, we enjoyed the nice weather and took a walk through Madison Square Park. Since the majority of the people were drawn to the parade route, it was pretty nice and quiet in the park. We sat on one of the benches and watched dog owners walking their dogs and the squirrels playing and burying their nuts.

Although I would have been SO happy to fly home for Thanksgiving to be with my family, it was a little nice not having an agenda and being able to eat whenever we wanted and go wherever we wanted rather than being pressed for time to make it over to the relatives and staying in the house the entire time.

Thanksgiving kicked off the start of a wonderful weekend full of shopping and relaxing. While I was really looking forward to having a few days off in between jobs, (I’m starting a new job Monday.) four days was plenty and I had a good mix of activity and relaxation, and I’m actually looking forward to getting back to work. Plus, I don’t know if

you have this problem, but having a free day to do whatever can be quite costly. I need to go back to work to simply to stop spending all of my money! Clearly I haven’t learned how to just “”window shop.”” I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I cannot wait until Christmas now. 🙂

Film Review: The Artist and We Need to Talk About Kevin

Two great movies, but both very different: The Artist and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Keeps me regular, and, I think, makes me sleep a little better as well.

Paris Theater – The Artist

As I've mentioned a few times, the Paris Theater is one of my favorite theaters in the city, not just because it shows one movie exclusively at a time but also because I really enjoy seeing French films. I saw a preview of The Artist the last time I was at Paris Theater and was interested in seeing the silent black and white film because it's something different, and then when it got a lot of hype for being nominated for 6 Golden Globe Awards (3 of which it won including Best Picture and Best Actor), I figured it would be worth seeing.

Seeing a silent black and white film certainly is an experience. It was interesting because while you usually try to be quiet during a movie, you don't think too much about eating popcorn or crumbling candy wrappers, but when watching a silent film, you become very conscious of every little move you make. At the same time, since there is no sound, I found myself focused on

the screen at all timesin order not to miss any subtle gesture.

The Artist was a little corny for my taste, even without sound, but it was still a unique, enjoyable experience. When is the next time I'm going to see an old fashioned film?

Probably not again any time soon unless they come back in fashion. Regardless, Paris Theater is a very fitting theater forthat film; there's something charming about old fashioned black and white films just as there is with Paris.

AngelikaFilm Center- We Need to Talk About Kevin

I didn't really know anything about the film before going into it besides that it got 5 star reviews. I also wanted to see the film partlyas a joke because my boyfriend's name is Kevin. Boy was I in for a surprise. We do Need to Talk About Kevin. It was by far one of the most intense films I have ever seen. Although there were twotimes in the filmwhere I literally thought I needed to exit the theater because I couldn't handle watching it anymore, it is definitely worth seeing. You knowa film is powerful when you're still thinking about it days later. The intensity of the subject matter in combination of seeingan experiencethrough the lens of someone you normally wouldn't think about makes We Need to Talk About Kevinsuch an original film.There is so much symbolism and the waythe story is told through a mother's flashbacks oscillating from the growing up ofher child leading upto a majortragedyto the doldrums of herlife afterwards is beautifully done.It's odd that the film is so disturbing yet beautifully done, but that's why it's so brilliant.I cannot recommend this movie enough.

So, if you're looking for movie suggestions for this weekend, I recommend The Artist if you want a fun, light film, and We Need to Talk About Kevin if you want something more dark and serious.

Detour to Harlem

Although I've been living in NYC for nearly two years, I have only walked around Harlem once, and sad to say, it was when I first came to the city looking for an apartment. I'm not familiar with the area and I have no real need to ever go there, so when Kevin and I took the train uptown for dinner and Columbus Circle was the last stop until Harlem, which we did not get off at, I was not a happy camper. I was hungry, annoyed, and uncomfortable in an unfamiliar area. Thanks to technology though, when we finally got off at the first stop in Harlem, we were able to use our phones to search for vegetarian restaurants in the area. And thanks to Yelp, we found a nearby place with good reviews, Strictly Roots.

I was a little hesitant when we first walked in. The place looked a little grungy, there were men with dreadlocks just sitting around playing checkers, and the food was pre-made buffet style (although the cook could make other items too). Because I was so hungry, I took my chances on the pre-made food. I had a scoop of seitan, sweet & sour ficken (fake chicken), and another random side. The meal was surprisingly good. The seitan was especially good with a lot of flavor and an enjoyable texture. I ate my entire plate but was still a little hungry. I would definitely go back to Strictly Roots if I happen to be in the area again. One thing that was a little disconcerting is their NYC Health department restaurant inspection letter grade which is a C. By the looks of the place, I think that grade is fair. At the same time, it was cool to find that little gem of a vegetarian restaurant hidden in Harlem.

Since I was still a little hungry after our meal, Kevin and I also searched for a nearby dessert spot. We found Tonnie's Minis, a cupcake spot. Little did I know that Tonnie's Minis is a pretty well-known cupcake spot and Tonnie himself was actually a competitor in the Food Network's Cupcake Wars. I felt li

ke a kid in a candy shop I was so excited. Tonnie's Minis are very good. Ilove that they are made fresh, the cake is perfectly moist,and you get to pick the frosting and any toppings you want on them. My favorite is the yellow cake with pistachio frosting. The red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting is also delicious. There's something about seeing frosting squeezed onto a naked cupcake that makes it extra delicious. They're simple to make yet being able to customize your own cupcake on the spot makes it seem like a special homemade treat and adds to the whole experience.

So, while having dinner and dessert in Harlem was not quite what we had in mind for dinner on a Sunday, we were happily surprised what we were able to find. I'm thankful that we didn't just hop back on the train downtown and instead took a “”risk”” and tried food in an unfamiliar place. The city is exciting in the sense that even when you're “”lost,”” you never know what unexpectedly awesome spot you might come across. Additionally, even though Harlem is in Manhattan, it didn't feel like it. When I stepped off the train I felt like I had been transported to

an entirely different city. There were no luxury high-rise buildings for one. It was also a culture shock being a minority walking down the street and seeing men just hanging out in a restaurant playing checkers. Harlem is their hood. They seem so comfortable and unrushed….like they belonged there, like it was their home.

Perhaps I particularly noticed this because even though I live in NYC, I still have a hard time calling it my home. I'm not a regular anywhere, partly because there are always so many other

spots I want to check out, but also because I haven't found a spot I feel comfortable enough chilling at for a few hours. I don't have any place I can yet call “”my spot.””Maybe it's only a matter of time, or perhaps Harlem is an anomaly in Manhattan. Either way, my unexpected afternoon in Harlem was a great experience.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Last Sunday I had a fantastic day in Brooklyn. I only go to Brooklyn once or twice a month, but every time I do, I have a great time exploring. Our day started with brunchin Vinegar Hill (a borough of Brooklyn) at namesake restaurant, Vinegar Hill House. The wait was long but we had a few cups of coffee at the coffee bar while waiting for our table. It was a nice enough day that we were able to sit outside in their little courtyard. It was quite charming. It feels like spring is finally here.

After brunch, Kevin’s friend led us down the street to a locked gate housing a mansion inside. I have always had a “”thing”” about mansions. Maybe it’s because my dad is a builder, and every time we moved it was into a bigger home, or maybe it’s the little girl in me who‰غھs fascinated withsecret passageways and whose favorite book was The Secret Garden while growing up. Regardless, after seeing the mansion, it sparked my interest to know who owns it. I did a little research and found a piece The New York Times wrote in 2006:

In a New York of secret delights, the Commandant’s House at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a secret secret. Built early in the 19th century, the big white house, formally known as Quarters A, is the yard’s oldest surviving structure, with exquisite Federal-style detailing. In private ownership since the Navy Yard closed in 1964, the three-story house can be glimpsed only in bits and pieces over walls, through gardens and, distantly, past high gates. Its broad lawn offers a summer fantasy above the East River (New York Times).

From there we walked to another Brooklyn gem, Jane’s Carousel, which lives in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the East River between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Jane’s Carousel is truly a delight. Even though I didn’t ride the carousel, I have a great appreciation for the 1922 carousel that was restored and is now available for the public to enjoy. What I also love about it is the pavilion it lives under, designed by architect Jean Nouvel. I can only imagine how in awe children must be when they first see this beautiful carousel seemingly out of place next to the East River housed under a glass pavilion. Simply put, it’s magical.

Finally, to conclude our day in Brooklyn, Kevin and I hopped in a cab for a quick 10 minute ride to Bedford. I popped in my favorite jewelry boutique, Norbu (Tibetan word for jewel), swung by Artists & Fleas flea market, and paid a visit to Pigeon Be Pigeon, my favorite only graphic tee designer I really buy from whose screen prints are inspired by the city.

I become a bigger fan of Brooklyn with each trip I make. There is so much to do there and I like the artistic feel. Certain parts of Brooklyn, like Williamsburg, are very trendy/hipster areas, and the rent there is just as much as if you were living in Manhattan. In fact, as Kevin and I were observing the others out and about that day, he made a comment that we weren’t cool enough to be there. Don’t be intimidated though, there’s far too much to see/do in Brooklyn to let its inhabitants keep you away.

Sunday Fun Day on Long Beach

This weekend I went to Long Beach, NY for the first time. It was fabulous. Having grown up in Michigan, I'm still not very familiar with the beaches in New York and New Jersey. One of my girlfriends told me that she always goes to Long Beach, and a week later, I read an article recommending the same trip. It was a sign. So, after checking out the weather Saturday night, we woke up early on Sunday morning to catch the 8:45am LIR train to Long Beach. It was only

a 45 minute train and it drops you off only a few blocks walking distance to the beach. We picked up bagels at Life's a Bagel before heading to the beach. While the employees at Life's a Bagel are rude and don't have an organized ordering/paying system, the bagels were pretty good.

Once we got to the beach, we rented an umbrella and spent the

day laying in the sand and walking along the beach. It was a perfect day. And I'm

glad we got there as early as we did, because by noon, the beach was pretty crowded. My only complaint is that there was a ton of seaweed in

the water and along the shoreline, but I got used to it by the end. My friends said the seaweed usually isn't that bad.

It was also a coincidence that the day we went was when the was at Long Beach handing out free samples of body and face sunscreen and sunglasses. There was even a photographer, a step and repeat, and a dermatologist on the bus giving free skin inspections. I like Neutrogena even more now.

After we had our fill of fun in the sun, we had a bite to eat at Gino's of Long Beach before getting on the train back to Manhattan. The calzone was delicious. All in all, it was the perfect way to spend our Sunday, and I will definitely be going back.