4 Places You NEED To Check Out Before Summer Ends

GUYS. August in NYC is no joke. This is my 4th year suffering through it, and if anyone tells you that you get used to it, they’re a big fat liar. I went out to dinner with my girlfriends the other night and it was so unbearably humid that one of the girls literally stood in front of the hand dryer for 10 minutes trying to dry up her sweat. UGH. Fall 2017, WHERE YOU AT?!

Anyways, I’m really excited to tell you guys about my new partnership with Sapahn! This amazing company was founded in rural Thailand by the incredibly sweet Brooke Mullen. She came across artisans with beautiful hand-crafted pieces and saw that due to market challenges, they were earning less than they deserved because of what she referred to as, “minimum bargaining power and a lack of adequate resources.” Brooke instantly wanted to help these people, and she did just that! How? Sapahn knows exactly who is making each piece and how it’s crafted, as well as where the materials are coming from. Their artisans set their own prices for what they create – bargaining is not allowed! They’re paid 50% when they begin making the piece, and the other 50% when the order is delivered. Why? “We recognize the increased vulnerability artisans may face when having to pay for supplies, labor, and life expenses until a month or two later when the full order is completed.”

So basically, when I learned that I’d be able to work with a company that had beautiful and versatile pieces, and that also values and appreciates incredible talent, I was sold! I always want to be really transparent with you guys, so here it is: whether or not you buy a bag from Sapahn, it doesn’t effect me personally. I’m not being paid to write this post (although Brooke did sent me the amazing bag I’ll be writing about) and I won’t get a commission off of anything you buy. So you can rest assured that everything I write here is totally my opinion- I truly believe in this company 🙂 

Now for the fun part! I’ve been so crazy busy this summer that I haven’t had a chance to tell you about some of my favorite spots in the city for you to try out! So here we go- 4 places for you to check out before summer ~officially~ ends. 

  • Exchange Place – Jersey City – Ok so yes, this is technically not in NYC, but it’s literally right across the river and a 5 minute ride on the PATH, which is cleaner than the subway so you’re welcome. Exchange Place in Jersey City is stunning. It has unbeatable views of NYC, and they’re all insta-worthy ;). The boardwalk multiple piers that you can stroll on- if you read my running posts, you’ll know that I’m here all the time. They have food trucks, occasional street performers, and a brand new beer garden just opened up down there as well! My Sapahn bag happens to be perfect for a Saturday afternoon on the pier, because it actually holds a ton. I can fit my wallet, sunglasses, headphones, snacks and even my Fujifilm camera in there (if I force it, lol). Check it out- I promise it’s worth it.




  • Shopping in SoHo. I mean, yaaaassss, but also, noooo because I’m broke and there’s nothing in SoHo that doesn’t make you poor. Yet another reason why I feel personally victimized by this city. However, my friend Danielle and I decided to take our lunch hour and head over to LF because they were having a massive blowout sale and like, ok fine twist my arm, I guess I’ll go shopping. I walked in and immediately got anxiety because this place makes TJMAXX look as organized as the container store. Like, holy crap. It was so overwhelming that I literally had to take deep breaths. I silently thanked God that my bag was a cross-body bc I honestly think I would’ve lost it and never recovered it in the MOUNTAINS of clothes otherwise. Long story short, I bought a super cute fall sweater for 60% off and was like, #blessed. Oh and then we went to Dominique Ansel’s bakery (famous for the Cronut) and bought frozen s’mores. They were good in theory, but there was too much ‘mallow and not enough ice cream IMO. But let’s be honest, there’s never really enough ice cream, ever.lf1




  • Dinner with the girls. VERY IMPORTANT. We went to La Palapa in the East Village and it was great all around. My girl Erin was back in town for the weekend after moving to D.C. at the beginning of this summer, and you guys, I didn’t even realize exactly how much I missed her until I had her back and almost cried I was so happy. Some people just get you, ya know? So to celebrate, 10 of us got together and bonded over tacos, guac and margs. For a place that’s cute and has really good food, I was pleasantly surprised with how it was priced – the bill (with tip) came out to just under $300 for the whole group. Not bad at all, especially with alcohol on the tab. It’s also really close to some fun bars, so you don’t need to run around the whole damn city looking for your next spot to go- a major win! 



  • Tribeca Drive-In at Oculus Plaza. I LOVE this! Outdoor screenings of some serious classics on the first weekend of every month (from June-October). It’s so close to Eataly, it’s the perfect way to kick off a good weekend- great Italian food and a fun movie on a summer night in the city? Just make sure you grab an ice cream cone to top it off 😉 Sticking some snacks, your wallet and a good pair of sunnies into my Sapahn bag is the best way to bring what I need to the movies without worrying about leaving anything behind while I move from spot to spot trying to find the best view! Next Viewings: 9/1 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 9/2- Enchanted.

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 6.47.53 PM

Why the apartment hunt struggle is SO REAL for New Yorkers

If you’ve ever had to move, you know that even though you’re so excited to have a fresh space, it’s not an easy task to accomplish. First of all, it’s expensive. There’s the first month/ last month bit, the security deposit, the cost of buying packing materials and then the cost of movers. Basically, if you’re not ready to liquidate some assets, you may start seeing you bank account in the red. #SoBlessed.

Apartment hunting in NYC is an entirely different beast, similar to what I would imagine the Hunger Games was like IRL. There’s 1 of 2 ways you’re doing this. You’re either living with roommates, or trying to live by yourself. And you know what? They both suck. A lot. If you’re trying to move somewhere with roommates, here are some of the scenarios you’ll undoubtedly face:

  • Different budgets- you probably don’t all make the same amount of money, so some of the group will want to ball out for central AC and an elevator building, while others will want to skimp on a 6th floor walk-up. Thank God for the American Dream, amirite?
  • Timing- If you’re not first you’re last: that’s the name of the game for NYC real estate. If you’re looking for an apartment with your roommates, you better all be there to see it and be prepared to sign on the spot because if you decide to wait until Becky can be conferenced into the roomie FaceTime chat later to discuss your options since she couldn’t be at the showing, you’re out. Someone already signed in blood and offered up their first born for it. Better luck next time.
  • Converted spaces- do I really need to say anything else about this? There’s nothing more irritating than a listing saying that there’s a 3 bedroom (and it’s reasonably priced!) available in Murray Hill, and then you find out that they’re a bunch of liars. Do you know how many weeknights I spend sprinting from my downtown office up to midtown, sweat dripping from every pore on my body and a crazed look in my eye, just to see that the place that I thought would comfortably house 3 20-something year old females was actually a “converted” apartment? All that means is that this place was originally only meant for two bedrooms and you decided that future tenants either a) didn’t want you to have a living room or b) didn’t really care if you never see the light of day again because lol your “bedroom” doesn’t have a window in it.

I just battled literally millions of other New Yorkers this last month to find a reasonably priced (lol jokes on us bc those don’t exist) and somewhat safe apartment to sign on for the next 12 months. It was like stab to the heart having to write a check for a full month’s rent (while I’m still living in my Brooklyn apartment) as well as 1.5x rent for the security deposit. Bible, I saw stars. I had to sit down with my head between my knees. Not a drill.

In the hopes of reminding myself what else was out there, I played around with Craigslist and Street Easy to see just how voraciously some of my fellow NYers are being ripped off. I felt slightly better after seeing the below:


First of all, there’s this:


none_for_rent See? I wasn’t exaggerating. THERE ARE LITERALLY 0 APARTMENTS IN ALL OF MANHATTAN $1,250/MONTH OR LESS FOR RENT. Not even a a studio on friggen E. 158th street. WHAT THE HELL NYC!?

Then there’s this – $800/month for a 1 bedroom in a 700 sq. foot 3-bedroom apartment. What a BEAUT!


There’s this one, which I’m 600% sure is an actual walk-in closet that someone is being charged $1300/mo to suffer in



You have this one – which wouldn’t be the worst one on the list… until you notice that there’s a shared bathroom with the rest of the floor -___-


And finally, this iconic $1,000/mo  UWS apartment that literally went viral for how pathetic it is. Sad.

*Listed amenities include: mini-refrigerator, hot plate, closet, large window, shared bathroom


So as I cry over what my savings account could’ve been (but probably never will be thanks to this new apartment I’m moving into), I save a few tears for the poor souls who are stuck with these nightmares. People of New York: When it comes to apartment hunting, may the odds be ever in your favor.

xo, AJ

Summer 2017 – The Hottest Places to Cool Off in NYC

I have to say, I’m feeling personally victimized by the NYC weather these last few weeks. No word of a lie, there were people wearing freakin’ overcoats to work last week but come Saturday, I was sweating through my t-shirt on the way back from the subway to my apartment. Like, WTF? Nahh, I’m not about that life. Summer in NYC means millions of angry New Yorkers crammed on subways (you just know you’re going to end up getting stuck underground in the car with the broken AC). From the subway, we all then cram into elevators and at least attempt to air our our sweaty clothes without being overtly disgusting about it. It is what it is, we’re all animals when the temps break 80 degrees.

So now that it seems like summer is here to stay, it’s time to break out the top list of places to cool off as NYC heats up.

1. Magnum

Customize your ice cream bar in over 200,000 ways! It’s pricey for what you’re getting, but the experience is extremely cool. Mini mint chocolate chips? Pile them on! Rose petals? They’ve got ’em! When it comes to dipping, you’ve got milk, dark and white chocolate to choose from. Don’t put it off too long though, because this is a pop-up shop and won’t be around for much longer.

875 Washington Street, New York, NY



2. Berry Park

This Brooklyn beer hall has 3,500 square feet of inside space, and a roof deck that’s almost as large. The atmosphere is casual/relaxed, unlike a lot of summertime rooftop bars where ‘casual’ means a minimum of white jeans and Jack Rodgers. This place has a 13 ft wide TV to display whatever sports match is going on that day, and is the perfect place to test out some imported beers with your friends.

4 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY



3. La Birreria

Easily one of my favorite rooftop bars in the city. If you’ve ever been to Flat Iron, you know that there’s tons of cool things that the district offers for summer time fun! Ground level has Eataly, which is overflowing with insanely delicious treats (including gelato – PSA: you’ll likely stand is a 20+ minute wait for the gelato because it’s heaven-sent). If you’re looking for a cooler view of the city, head up 14 floors to La Birreria, a beer garden where, if you snag the right seat, you’ll have a stunning view of the Empire State building. Makes for the perfect setting for a ~sUpEr CaNdId InStAgRaM pOsT~ ya know, the one where you and all your girls fake laugh so hard that it turns into real laughs because y’all know you looks like fools 🙂

200 5th Ave, New York, NY




4. The Heights at Arlo NoMad

All I can say about this place is that a) I hope you like frosé and b) I hope you’re not afraid of heights 😉 This brand-new establishment opened its doors just in time for #RooftopSzn and it’s already pulling in fab reviews! All the drinks are named after cool NYC neighborhoods, so New Yorkers and tourists alike will have a fun time ordering the Jackson Heights (a.k.a. blueberry lemon, lime and ginger slush) or the Brooklyn Heights (a.k.a. tequila, lime, lemon and fresh pressed watermelon juice). The best part? The somewhat death-defying, snap-chat worthy clear floor that gives you a *clear* view all the way down the 31st street. Very cool.

11 E. 31st Street, New York, NY




5. Loopy Doopy

The practically classic NYC summer cocktail institution became famous a few summers ago when the Prosecco + ice pop combo took Instagram by storm. Basic White Girls everywhere rejoiced at the amount of ‘likes’ they’d receive from styling their $22 drinks against the NYC backdrop. And believe me, I’m not judging- you’ll for sure be seeing me up there more than once this summer because at the end of the day, was it even summer if you didn’t insta your happy hours?

102 N. End Ave, New York, New York



I’m Still Fly, I’m Sky High

You can book your own experience at FlyNYON.com

You know in those action movies where people run on to a rooftop and there’s a strategically placed helicopter that’s somehow already whirring at full-speed and then the second the character jumps into it, it takes off? Yea, FlyNYON wasn’t like that at all.

suns out

It was still INSANELY cool though! I actually found out about FlyNYON while I was browsing Instagram. I took one look at their feed, and sent them an email to book. There was no way I was going to let this opportunity pass me by! 2017 has been the Year of Yes for me, so saying no to riding in a helicopter over the city? Not an option.

I’m not gonna lie, the experience isn’t cheap. A 15 minute ride over NYC will run you $218 – but keep in mind, 15 minutes in a helicopter is actually kind of a long time. (They have longer packages too, but I’ll stick to the one that I went on.) Here’s how it works:

You start off by the water in Jersey where the office and helicopter hub is. There’s a bunch of different helicopters in their garage and on the tarmac (is that what it’s called? You know what I mean) so you immediately feel like you’re on the set of Top Gun. Very boss-like. There will be a max of 5 people on this flight (including you), so it’s pretty personal. The team is incredibly nice, and really helpful at answering any questions you might have. You arrive about 45 minutes before your flight so that you can go over a quick safety video, make sure all your clothing + shoes check out, and secure your phone or camera to a rope that attaches to you. The people of NYC that you, FlyNYON – nothing ruins your Tuesday morning quite like getting nailed with an iPhone 7 from 2,000 feet in the air.

Once you’re done with all of that, you walk outside and then strap you up into a harness that will attach you to the helicopter so you don’t pull a Vin Diesel and jump out. Pretty smart. You’ll take a golf cart out to the helicopter and that’s when you realize that you’re really about to go 2000 FEET IN THE AIR OVER NEW YORK CITY. Holy. Sh*t. You take the mandatory photo in front of the helicopter, get strapped in, and put on a fancy headset that I’m sure is there to block out the crazy loud noise, but really just made me feel like I was a badass fighter pilot. I loved every second of it.


And then you’re off – the helicopter rises up quickly and you’re suddenly shivering from both the cold and the adrenaline, while simultaneously trying super hard to look out over the water without your face flying off. I feel like I finally understand what my dog must experience when she sticks her head out of the window when I’m driving. I’ve seen the photos of me – it’s nothing I’d want in a yearbook, that’s for sure.

Then suddenly, you’re over the city and it’s just kind of surreal. You see the whole island of Manhattan right there below you and you’re so high up that you can barely see the people, but you just have this massive smile on your face because OMG, who really gets to do this?! I was so insanely happy and just in pure awe over what was happening. The pilot flies right over the Freedom Tower, because he’s very aware that it’s the money shot. And of course you take a shoe selfie. It was no accident that I was wearing my Suns Out Buns Out shoes by Sam Edelman. It’s like they were made for this exact moment.



freedom 2


And then you’re on your way back to Jersey and you’re just like ahhh omg WHAT JUST EVEN HAPPENED?! Once you land, you’re unhooked, and you take a quick ride back to the office and you’re all done. I can’t really explain the feeling, other than just to say I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s not the feeling like when you’re on a roller coaster, it’s actually a lot easier. I think the excitement of the whole thing tunes you out to how high up you are, so it’s not actually scary. The only truly frightening part about it all was what my hair looked like when it was all over. Ladies, make sure you bring a hair tie. You’ve been warned.

FlyNYON has the NYC experience, but they’re also located in a few other cities as well, including Miami, LA and San Francisco! They’re also opening up 2 experiences in Vegas next month – one over the strip, and one over the Grand Canyon – that’s going to be BEYOND insane! The pricing and timing is different for all cities, so make sure you check out their site and see which one is a good fit for you!

Feed Me and Tell Me I’m Pretty

If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m like, a really big fan of food. Sadly, not a huge fan of healthy food (I place 95% of the blame on my parents for force-feeding me vegetables and not letting me leave the table until all the greens had been eaten for this #traumatized). I supposed I should make it one of my goals to eat healthier, but it I’m being real, INSIDER Food doesn’t post videos about salads and grilled chicken, so I’m not impressed.

Luckily, they DO post all kinds of videos about fun places to try all over the country, but especially NYC. If you’re anything like me, your thought process goes like this:

  1. “Holy sh*t that looks delicious omg must have!”
  2. *Shares video on FB and tags 3-4 friends and captions “GET READY- we’re going to this.”*
  3. *Realizes that there are literally millions of other people who’ve seen this video in the last 2 days and that the line will be 4 blocks long*
  4. *Never goes*

Well friends, I decided to be adventurous this weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I shut Netflix off, changed out of my Lulu Lemons and into actual jeans, put on my toasty warm black coat (it was 25 degrees max this weekend in NYC) and texted my best friend and begged her to brave the cold for me – in the name of food. Since she’s the best and agreed immediately, we were off!

LES wall


Stop #1 – OatMeals NYC

OatMeals is exactly what it sounds like- an entire cafe dedicated to oatmeal. Be warmed- this isn’t your mother’s oatmeal. This stuff is the real deal. I was initially tempted by the Cinnamon Bun flavor, but sided with the Unicorn bowl bc #trendy. My Nana would’ve slapped my wrist if she thought for even a second I was pairing a breakfast food with so much sugar, but I’M AN ADULT SO I DO WHAT I WANT. Not gonna lie, it was a little odd do have a piece of sour candy in my oats, but it was the experience that mattered, and I had to do it for the ‘gram.

oatmeal 1



Stop #2 – Goa Taco

Full disclosure, Goa wasn’t even on my list of places to visit on this self-planned Food Tour. But when we were walking to our next location, I saw their neon sign on the wall inside and immediately dragged Yasi through the door. “Just need to warm up” was how I justified it to her. Ordered a quick little snack and continued to admire the decor because the wall color is PERFECT and the hot pink neon sign is something that I honestly need for my room because really, wtf else would I need besides tacos and someone to tell me I’m pretty? That’s #goals my friends. I knew what stops we still had left on this little tour, so I ordered a bag of chips + salsa and stuffed them in my bag for later which, to be fair, I chowed down on later that night and immediately decided I need to go back to get some tacos. Follow-up post to come on that 😉




Stop #3-  Sweets by Chloe

Not gonna lie, I was skeptical. I know this place is part of the Sweetgreen family, which is a super healthy restaurant that rarely appeals to me unless I have an event coming up that requires me to lose 5lbs by consuming water + rabbit food. Not a fan. As my favorite quote says, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a salad, asking it to be a doughnut.” But I digress.

I’m thrilled that I didn’t pass on Sweets by Chloe, because a) very cute front door (even though the hinge on it will knock you out if you’re not careful – almost got a concussion #bible) and b) their stuff is absolutely delicious. Even thought it was like, below freezing out, I had to go with the double-chocolate push pop. IT’S SO DAMN GOOD! People passing by on the street probably thought I was deranged for eating a frozen dessert outside in the dead of winter, but NO REGRETS, MAN. It was chocolaty (obv) and creamy and had a little bit of cake in it and just YES. See ya super soon, Chloe. Love you, mean it!


sweet chloe 1

sweet chloe 2


Stop #4 – The Meatball Shop

Crossing 5th Ave and trekking from the West Village to the Lower East Side, Yasi and I decided it was time for something more savory than sweet, which is how we ended up at the Meatball Shop. Knowing that we still had one stop left after this one, we kept the order relatively small. we went for the Naked Balls. I ordered mine with red sauce and mozzarella, and topped it with the Family Jewel (aka a fried egg). Yasi also guilted herself into ordering a side of broccoli, to which I simply ignored the entire time bc ew I have no interest in eating miniature trees, thank you very much.

Long story short with the Meatball Shop, it’s a really fun place to go. The atmosphere is casual and the menus are awesome. It’s laminated and the waitstaff gives you dry -erase markers so you can circle what you want and write any notes down on it, and then they go off of that when preparing your food in the kitchen. I’ve been here once before, and I can say with extreme confidence that if you ever go, you NEED to order an ice cream sandwich. You can customize it to your liking, but I went with the classic vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies, and I definitely was not disappointed. I’m secretly glad that I don’t live close to one of their locations, because I’d for sure be going in there every day and like, my waistband just cannot afford that at the moment.


the meatball shop


Stop #5 – New Territories 

Mostly I just had to go here because I’ve seen their milkshakes on Instagram and I was fascinated. the outside is partially coated in rainbow sprinkles (yaaas, love when something is fit for a princess) and is topped with all things rainbow and sweet. It’s the unicorn milkshake (again, v. trendy right now) of your dreams. And once again, we have a hot pink neon sign FTW! This is yet another place that I’ll need to come back to again, because they had some ridiculously cool looking waffle snacks that I sadly had to pas up, lest I need to be rolled home or go shopping for a larger pair of jeans.


milkshake 2

milkshake 3

Where To Find:

OatMeals  –  120 W. 3rd Street, New York, NY

Goa Taco  –  79 Delancey Street, New York, NY

Sweets by Chloe  –  185 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

The Meatball Shop  –  84 Stanton Street, New York, NY

New Territories  –  190 Orchard Street, New York, NY


Will Travel for Brunch

*You can find the full Brother Bruno’s menu by clicking here

I have this terrible habit of saving videos that I want to watch on Facebook, and then never actually watching them. I have a hunch that most people are like this. You know what I mean- you see a BuzzFeed clip that seems like it would be funny, but you don’t think everyone else in your subway car would appreciate you blasting it on the 6:30pm commute ride, so you save it and then subsequently forget about it.

I have this problem with all videos, but especially with the Insider ones that feature these amazing cafes + restaurants all across the world with crazy cool menus and meals that literally leave drool running down my chin. So when I came across Brother Bruno’s in Wayne, New Jersey, I was determined to not let that happen. To me, this was the ultimate place to try one of these restaurants out! It was close enough to drive there on a random Saturday, but far enough away from the city that I wouldn’t be waiting in a line that wrapped around 15 city blocks and had a 3-hours wait time (BlackTap, I’m looking at you- I STILL have not had one of your 2,000 calorie milkshakes and yeah, I’m mad about it).

Earlier this month, I saw this INSIDER Food video that blew my mind. Breakfast pizza that you could customize with your favorite cereal and was stuffed with french toast? WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE! I decided I had to go, so that’s how I spent my Sunday morning.

When I got there, I found out that you can actually customize your dessert pizza into a sampler of sorts- I picked 4 different kinds (2 slices of each) and laaaawwwddd, be still my heart. I have found heaven, and it lies in the form of S’mores pizza. Though there are about 2o+ flavors to choose from, we went with Birthday Cake, S’mores, Cinnamon Toast Crunch (bc that is FIRE), and Girl Scout Samoas Cookie flavor.



I’m not ashamed to say that I brought this whole box home and ate it while sitting on my floor watching Golden Girls (the whole series is out on Hulu, you’re welcome). What I’m slightly upset about is that I only got a few bites of each flavor before I had to run out and meet a friend for drinks. When I came back, it was after 11pm and I was slightly tipsy, so I got cozy on my couch and settled in for another round or Dorothy + Sophia going at it about something that happened in Sicily in 1912. This is when I noticed a shadow cross my floor, so I flipped on the light and saw a tiny mouse running away… you can’t imagine how hard I cried over this- I’m talking full on sobbbing, choking on my own spit kind of tears. I’m not proud of my reaction, but I can’t lie- I instantly considered moving. Not kidding. I don’t want to get into the sad details of it, but obviously I had to throw the dessert pizza away, because EW but also, ugh :(. Side note- in an attempt to not live my life in fear of a 1.5lb piece of fluff with a nasty-ass tail, I have tried to humanize him by naming him Jean-Claude. JC and I have not seen each other since the incident, and I’m hoping that he has chosen another apartment with healthier food options lying around for him to enjoy. This is how I’m coping, leave me alone!

Anyways, because JC enjoyed my pizza, I’ll be making a return trip to Brother Bruno’s soon- check out their flavors and write me a comment to help me decide on what to try next!

xo, AJ

Saturday in SoHo

This weekend I hit the streets of SoHo with my best friend get some quality shopping + eating in. Typical BFF things, obviously. When we got down there, it felt like a ghost town. We tried figuring out what was going on- is everyone on vacation? Is it seriously too cold out for New Yorkers to go shopping (the answer: never)? Is Barney’s having some major sale we didn’t know about and we need to go back uptown immediately? Then we figured out that it was NYFW, an event that drags thousands away from the cobblestone streets slicked with stomach-turning puddles and into chic warehouses filled with beautiful people. I can see the appeal.

Pop-Up Shop

As we celebrated the lighter-than-usual tourist traffic, we were approached out of nowhere by good-looking men handing out pink tulips. Now from my experience, men don’t typically hand out roses for nothing, and they definitely don’t do it unless they’re expecting something in return (sex, acceptance of an apology, he tells you his mom is coming to stay with you guys for a week). So we were skeptical, to say the least. They could for sure tell what we were thinking, and were quick to point out that the tulips really were free, and they were just promoting a Valentine’s Day pop-up shop around the corner. Well, it was 15 degrees out and just a few days before V-day, so we decided to head on over. The second we walked in, we were thrilled. They were handing out flowers out the door, had set up booth for local businesses with products related to Valentine’s Day, set up a photobooth and were providing free makeovers, massages and goodie bags! This place was HEAVEN!

Let’s start with some of my favorite local businesses that attended:

Cupcake Market : This insanely creative bakery (located on the Lower East Side) was selling cookies + cupcakes decorated with celebrity faces. There was everything from Kanye West to Donald Trump, and the artwork was truly awesome. My personal faves? The iconic Kim Kardashian crying face and the Sad Drake. $16 a cookie, but well worth it. You know what they say… #DoItForTheGram


IXMUCANE :Branded as handcrafted botanical skincare, IXMUCANE stood at to me. Their setup was simple, but still lovely, and their products were high quality. I purchased the Balancing Facial Toner and the Rejuvenating Rose Mask, and I’ve already noticed a change in my skin. I have really sensitive skin, especially on my face – I have to be really careful of the products I use, or I break out and dry out instantly. Neither of these products had an adverse reaction with my skin (shocking, believe me), they smelled amazing, and I noticed my skin looking brighter! Total win!


Gatherings Floral Design : Moment of transparency – I dressed up as a pink fairy for Halloween and had a flower crown and I have been sad every single time that I see pictures from that weekend that I no longer have it. Enter Gatherings. Not only did they have a beautiful set-up at the event, but they also provided flower crowns for the photo-booth. WHAT A WIN, LADIES! They were absolutely gorgeous, and it was so fun knowing that they were made by a local-owned business. Pro-tip: their arrangements are totally affordable. New Yorkers (especially men) are well aware of the high costs of bouquets in this city – you practically need to take out a loan to buy a nice one. This shop is well-priced and has great arrangements. 


There were plenty of other shops, but these ones were my favorite. Check out @popupnation.co on Insta for more deets on the pop-up shop!

When You’re Too Tired to Shop Anymore, You Get Food..

After we left the #lovecraft event feeling spoiled, we walked a bit further over to Cha Cha Matcha . I honestly don’t know when this matcha craze took over, but I will never say no to going to a cafe decorated entirely in pink. Throw in some palm tree designs and cute coffee cups, and I’m there! Which is how we ended up at Cha Cha Matcha, a small cafe on Broome Street. It was super busy when we went, but I’m sure that’s mostly due to the fact that it was around 1pm on a Saturday, and this is a newer Cafe with Insta-worth aesthetics. Check it out on a random Wednesday (because on Wednesdays, we wear pink!) and I bet you’ll have a way more laid-back experience. Good luck!






Moving on to Oficina 1m , which is just a few doors down from Cha Cha Matcha on Broome. First of all, I took a few clients out to lunch here last Friday and ordered some of their homemade bread with homemade chocolate hazelnut spread (basically their higher-quality version of Nutella) and WHOA. Order it. Just do it. Then one of my friends/colleagues offered me a bite of her mushroom ravioli, which I almost turned down because mushrooms are literally the most disgusting things in the world to me. But for some reason I took and bite… which is how I ended up back here on Saturday afternoon for lunch. I literally came back to this exact restaurant 24 hours later because I NEEDED to order that ravioli for myself. It was breathtaking. Ugh, I actually miss it just thinking about it. I sincerely apologize to my readers for not being able to post a photo of it – the one I have simply won’t do it justice. Somebody get me another reservation…

Anyway, the decor here is simple + cute, the staff is really attentive + friendly, and I had two really wonderful back-to-back experiences here. It’s not a dive, but it’s just casual enough that you don’t need to be dressed up to go, and you can go in wearing your sunglasses and dedicated hangover outfit without being judged. I’m a fan.



Have any places that you think I should check out in the area? Comment below!

xo, AJ

Winter Fridays Call for Paintbox

The weather this week in NYC has been confusing, to say the least. 65 and sunny on Wednesday, 22 and blizzarding on Thursday – how’s a girl supposed to know how to dress for this ?!

Luckily, I found a cure to the cold-weather blues… a trip to Paintbox in SoHo! Painbox is a high-end nail studio known for its chic + gorgeous nail designs. It distinguishes itself from other salons in more than one way… check it out!


Painbox waiting lounge

  • Flutes of champagne served to anyone who arrives to their appointment 15 minutes prior to the start
  • A hard-bound book filled with dozens of nail designs. Not your typical plastic nail wheel + page of flowers + hearts for this place!
  • Impeccable service – these professionals are incredibly talented with their craft. Not only are they personable, but they’re fantastic artists and I swear, my nails have never looks so well-groomed.
  • There’s an endless flow of sparkling water, Prosecco, coffee and tea on hand – such a treat!
  • My favorite part is the mani-cam. After your nails are fresh, flawless and dried, stick them under the mani-cam to capture the perfectly lit insta!

manicam1      manicam2

The combination of wonderful service, endless Prosecco and a flawless manicure that will last 2 weeks+ does not come without a price. Single color non-gel polish starts at $35, and a gel polish with design can run you $68. IMHO, this place is worth it. A quiet little heaven-on-earth salon to give you a break from the craziness of the city every once in a while? I say treat yo’ self.

Pro tip: When you call to book your appointment, ask for Cindy – she’s did an amazing job on my nails, and she’s so sweet!

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Moved to the City

I think we can all agree that while starting over in a new place can be exhilarating, it can also be terrifying. I distinctly remember the day that I moved to New York- I was all smiles, telling my mom + friends that I’d been dreaming for this day – that I couldn’t wait for my suitcases to hit the floor and for my freedom to finally set it.

But when I hugged everyone goodbye, locked the door behind me and was alone in my room, I instantly began panicking. I realized I had almost no savings account, barely any furniture, and didn’t even know how to get to my new office for my first day of work! I was a complete puddle of tears within minutes. Murray Hill, the neighborhood that I had been dying to live in the entire time I searched for an apartment (anyone who lives in NYC knows that this is the most cliche thing of all time – Murray Hill is filled to the brim with 20-something year old professionals who split their time between cheap drafts at Bro J’s and batting off the under-aged jail bait from Westchester + Fairfield County who sneaked in at Turtle Bay) was suddenly the worst decision I ever made. Or so I thought.

It took me a couple of weeks, but I finally got used to the idea of becoming a New Yorker. I no longer screamed when a rat came across my path on the sidewalk (I definitely still jump a little now and then though), I could confidently shove my way into a subway car and tune out the angry sounds commuters make during rush hour, and I learned to truly appreciate Seamless in all of its glory. For those of you in an area where Seamless doesn’t reach, I’m so sorry. Please call your local councilman and right this terrible wrong- you’re being robbed!

Here are 5 things I wish I knew when I first moved to the city:

  1. Use Uber/Lyft/Taxis as little as possible. I don’t know why but when I first moved here, I acted like a Rockafeller. I was taking a cab to work almost every morning because I didn’t want to deal with the cold or the 10 minute walk to the subway. a $12 cab ride (give or take) wasn’t a big deal. Except it was, and I ended up spending literally $1,500 on cabs to work in the first 6 months I lived there (if not more). DO NOT DO THIS. You will regret it when it’s time to pay the bills and you can no longer justify the premium subscription to Hulu. Pro tip: Always go with the premium subscription to Hulu.
  2. Limit yourself to 2 nights of Seamless a week. This may seem cruel and contradicting to what I said earlier, but this is a must. Not only did my clothes seriously hate me after a while, but your bank account will take a huge hit. Seamless is AMAZING (I would never knock it, fr), but orders often have a minimum spend (so you end up ordering more food than you would normally eat), and then also have extra delivery fees and tipping fees. You end up ordering pasta from the diner and paying $25.00. It might be better for everyone to throw some chicken and minute rice into the microwave and call it a day once in a while.
  3. You will fight with your roommate (passive-aggressively or otherwise). I’m not a huge fighter. At least not in the sense where I enjoy confrontation and lots of yelling. I also hate feeling awkward and uncomfortable in my own home because of a situation I’m in with a roommate. Unfortunately, both of those things have happened since I’ve moved to the city. I’ve had a roommate where I literally said 15 words to her on a weekly basis and was constantly talking to my mom + friends about her annoying habits (conveniently forgetting that I had my own) – and I’m sure she did the exact same thing with her friends. I wish I’d said something to clear the air, because it made our living condition v. uncomfy for an entire year, and tbh, I still roll my eyes sometimes when I scroll past her feed. I just cannot with her.
  4. Swipe right. You know what I’m talking about. Bumble, Tinder, Match, whatever app it is you’re using, swipe right and then actually GO on the date. I cannot begin to count the number of times I’d swipe, match and talk to a guy for a few days, and then I’d be too nervous to go on a date and nothing ever came from it. Literally took me a YEAR to go on a date after swiping. What a WASTE, let me tell you! Free meals/activities and the potential for a good old fashioned make out? DO NOT PASS THIS UP, LADIES.
  5. You will get to a point where you feel like it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year…. Seriously though, true story. The day will come when you started off spilling coffee all over your new white blouse from Zara, followed by a few work disasters/your boss chewing you out, a commute home that takes 40 minutes longer than its supposed to, and then a good cry in the shower because you feel like you can’t do anything right. *LISTEN* to me- IT’S NOT TRUE! There have been too many days for me to count where I called my mom in hysterics, telling her I wasn’t cut out for this, that I can’t do it and that I want to quit and come home. Honest to God. She quickly reminds me that living in her basement and becoming a professional stay-at-home daughter is not an option (I blame the Bachelorette for this idea- there was a guy on JoJo’s season who was a professional stay-at-home son #goals). She reminds me that this is the time to work hard, to hustle, to prove my worth in my industry – that all my hard work will pay off later. Pro tip: She’s right. If you’re having a bad day, turn on Friends and watch Ross find out that his Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich with the Moist Maker has been taken from him, and then reconsider if you’re really having as bad a day as you think… 

The day that I moved into my first NYC apartment.