Exploring New York: My Top 5 Coffee Spots…and 1 Bonus Pastry Shop

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Generally, I’m a tea girl. Give me an apricot black, coconut green, or blueberry red in one of my many cute Disney mugs, and I’m set. But lately I’ve been trying out espresso-shot lattes: piping hot, iced, or somewhere in between after I’ve left it on my desk for a couple of hours. One factor driving my foray into the world of coffee: New York City boasts endless coffeehouse options, and I’m not talking about Starbucks. Here are some alternatives actually worth your five dollars. Continue reading

Exploring New York: A Taste of Hungary

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I’ve been meaning to put up a full review of The Dandelion, my favorite brunch spot in Philadelphia, but between my freelance editing gig for O, The Oprah Magazine, gutting and painting the apartment, and figuring out how to deal with Cercospora leaf spot on my Swiss chard, I just haven’t had the time. And now that the weather is warming up, I’ve also been trying to soak up the heat outdoors as much as possible: jogging, strolling aimlessly, meeting up with friends in the city. One such get-together led me to the Hungarian Pastry Shop on the Upper West Side.

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Exploring New York: The Bronx Botanical Garden Orchid Show

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I’ve been so busy planning for my move into the apartment downstairs with Todd in May and getting back into my editing career that I haven’t had much time to blog lately. But I did squeeze in a trip to the Bronx Botanical Garden, located only one convenient mile from my house. Once there, I saw that the orchid show was in full swing. I had never visited the collection in the past; why pay $25 just to see orchids in the conservatory, I wondered, when the rest of the grounds offered plenty of flowers and exhibits for free? But with the sun shining, the temperature inching toward 80 degrees, and the poem The Orchid Flower by Sam Hamill in my mind, I decided to just pay up and find out what all of the fuss is about—and I don’t regret that decision one bit.

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The Sea’s Gifts

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“The sea is the best place to sit and think of the future.” —Los Campesinos

Lake Balaton in Hungary

Lake Balaton in Hungary

I have always found solace when sitting beside a large expanse of water, whether a sea, a lake, or an ocean. In warmer months, I often bike to Orchard Beach and take a rest by dipping my toes into the water. Other times, I walk toward City Island but slip off the main road onto a hidden path that takes me to a small beach frequented only by fisherman, where the water isn’t nice enough to swim in but there are several large rocks to sit upon. I also love the rocks at Coney Island, which jut out into the salty water so that you feel a part of it.

In the winter, though, I don’t necessarily feel like trekking out to a large expanse of water every time I need comfort or a place to think. Instead, I visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spend some time contemplating my favorite paintings, which have always been the ones that feature water in some way. On my most recent trip, I stared at the various depictions of the sea and thought about my my life, my job, what I want to do in the future, and what I don’t want to do in the future. By the time I left, I felt much better.

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Exploring New York: Brooklyn Bridge Park

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On one of our first dates, Todd and I met up at City Hall Park in the Financial District and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. On the other side of the river, we stumbled upon Brooklyn Bridge Park, which seemed like a hidden gem amid crumbly brick buildings and a quaint ice cream parlor. On Saturday, we revisited the park as part of Todd’s birthday celebration in the city. Although some things have changed since our first visit, it remains a peaceful getaway where you can view the city from afar.

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