Seven Years A New Yorker

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Would you believe I moved to this city by covering eleven states in two days while driving a Uhaul from Texas? There is something to be said for being young, naive and convinced you know what’s right all the time. I had some real nerve.

So here I am, seven years into my relationship with New York City. And how is it going, you ask? Well, I’ve definitely gained some important people in my life along the way. The city was quite the romantic backdrop to our little love story. Never a lack of exciting new things to try or places to explore. Now, it has been the most vibrant and entertaining place to raise Parker. It was pretty comical to spend my first pregnancy in this crazy place. Waddle walking through the streets and hearing innocent cat calls only to turn around, with full belly then in sight, and be like really? But hey, where would our self esteem be without those construction workers? I, for one, sure do appreciate their devotion to the whistle. I mean, yea, I know I looked good that other morning (I actually washed my hair) and thank you for acknowledging it. It’s equally comical to attempt to raise a child here. The daily schlepping, the closet turned nurseries, the decade wait list for a daycare, the fear she’ll never take to the feeling of grass…. all things that cause me to ironically love this city and also shake my fist at it at the same time. Things I never even imagined I'd be experiencing in this city while unloading my Uhaul. 

Equally, there’s a lot that is lost when you take up residence in the concrete jungle. For starters, long gone is my ability to responsibly operate a motor vehicle. We are going on six years and it more closely resembles an elderly person who never took drivers ed. Personal space is something I don’t expect to have, ever. And my petite calves now appear like small baseballs from all the subway stairs and walking I’ve done to transport myself around this city. Trust me, there’s a lot of places on my body I’d kill to have toned muscle, but my calves have never been the most desired area for that. You don’t get cat calls for calf muscles. So, thanks for that New York.

I know it is said a lot and it can become pretty trite, but there really is nothing like living here. I’m glad my seriously daring and adventurous younger self didn’t think twice. The city and I are constantly in a series of textbook fights (hour long subway delays underground in a car that smells like cat pee) and make up sessions (perfect fall weather, a surprise street market and the potential talk of a Trader Joe’s moving in close by). And every year, we city kids throw ourselves 'New York-aversary' parties to celebrate that great day we first stepped off the praire and onto the city streets. I always wonder if there is ever such a love affair as a New Yorker has with their city.

In one of my favorite love letters to the city, Here Is New York, E.B. White writes:

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something....Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.”

photo credit

Visit :: Hotel Saint Cecilia

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You want to know the greatest thing to happen to our lives right now? Free extended babysitting. The kind that allows you to jump on a quick flight, find a hidden gem of a hotel, explore a city, have a wonderful dinner date, stay out past your bedtime and sleep in like teenagers. That, my friends, makes you feel like a million bucks when you’re new parents. Technically, are we still ‘new’ parents? I don’t know the cutoff here. At seven months, we might consider ourselves ‘seasoned’. At least the permanent exhaustion look on our faces would declare it so.

A few weeks back, Parker got to have a vacation with her grandparents. We dropped her off, kissed her on the head, left a freezer full of milk and we fled south to Austin for a weekend full of R&R. Having lived in Texas for for a bit of my life, I’m not new to Austin, but it’s almost nice to go back now and kind of ‘rediscover’ it outside of being there in college (read: gross frat parties) or being there for work (read: gross music festivals).

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We aren’t really hotel kind of people and usually opt to find a hidden gem in the Airbnb world, but this time around, we got serious and found some fancy digs to rest our heads. Eric has spent some time at El Cosmico in Marfa, and had heard rave reviews about its sister abode, Hotel Saint Cecilia. I tell ya, I couldn’t imagine a more serene place right off the main craze of South Congress, with its chic boutiques and trendy restaurants, can be quite loud and crowded. Not here. The atmosphere is as if California and Nashville merged into one with cactuses and rustic American flags hanging around... as they do. We were lucky enough to practically be the only people there, so it was as if, we had the whole estate to ourselves. The pool is heated, the mini bar is packed full of eclectic treats and spirits from around the world and best of all, each room comes equipped with a record player (vinyl supplied at the front desk’s extensive library).

We honestly only spent a short amount of time in Austin, I thought of it as almost a ‘staycation’ in a city you don’t actually live in, but sometimes you have to get away to really rest.

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To See, To Do & To Eat::

Uncommon Objects :: If I go missing, the first place to look for me is this shop. Seriously. If I was a millionaire, I would buy the whole dang place and everything in it. Every corner is full of gorgeous curated antiques and oddities….. kind of like the current state of my apartment except consider ‘oddities’ to be ‘baby things’.

Stag:: A perfectly curated store for the man in your life.

Moss:: A perfectly curated consignment store for the lady of the house.

Torchy's:: Best damn tacos in all the land. Well, this could start a fight of sorts to go throwing around ‘best of’ claims, but by golly, those tacos are the most memorable ones I’ll eat in Austin.

Contigo:: One of our Brooklyn buddies had a hand in putting this place together, so it was a no-brainer for our date night while in town. It gets pretty hopping during the warmer weather, but we were lucky to catch it on a chilly evening, by Austin standards, so we snuggled up at our table with complimentary southwestern blankets and cocktails. Try the crispy green beans, cauliflower gratin and the dewberry hills chicken.

Jo's Coffee:: Located in the parking lot of the Hotel San Jose, the other sister of the El Cosmico and Hotel Saint Cecilia tribe, it hosts a line around the block most days. The coffee is top notch and if you didn’t get a chance to snag a taco at Torchy’s, the ones here are a close contender. Try the Iced Turbo and a breakfast taco.  

Taco Deli:: Maybe all I do is eat tacos in Austin? This place is only for the ‘breakfast’ category. Nothing fancy, but a place not to be missed. Try ‘The Otto’ taco.

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As with every city, there are probably awesome hidden gems that we likely have no clue exist! If you have some top favorite places in Austin, leave a comment below letting me know the spots so we can make sure to check them out on our next trip!

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 See you again soon Hotel Saint Cecilia! 

Come DIY with me at West Elm!

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Can you believe it? It's the holiday season already. Nothing brings me more joy than burning Christmas candles, listening to Frank Sinatra on the record player and over decorating our apartment with garland, lights and tinsel! Plus, I remember saying to myself last Christmas, "This time next year I will have a six month old baby..... weird." And, here we are people. It's almost time to hang those stocking with care.... and I indeed have a nearly six month old tiny person. 

And what better way to jump feet first into the holiday spirit than with a little DIY! If you're going to DIY just one time this year, this is that time. Join me and my partner-in-crime, Hannah of Hannah Kate Flora, as we show you how to make personalized monogram napkins (or pocket squares.... if that's more your thing). The lovely folks over at West Elm are housing our little gathering, so you know it will be cozy and festive! This is that perfect DIY for your holiday dinner table or for that last minute present (we all have that hard to buy for person!). Plus, I'm never one to DIY empty handed, so bubbly and treats will be on hand! Be sure to sign up soon, as space is limited and the day is fast approaching. We would love to see you there!

DETAILS :: 

When - December 5th from 7:00-8:30pm

Where - WEST ELM, Chelsea location - 112 West 18th Street (between 6th and 7th Ave)

Cost - $20 (tix available --> here)

*Cost includes all your necessary crafting supplies, a napkin or pocket square, bubbly and snacks. Participants will also be eligible for an in-store West Elm discount to be redeemed at the class. What better time to stock up on holiday gifts for your family!