Although I'm currently staying in Manhattan, I've been spending a lot of time in Brooklyn. It's just a quick ferry ride across the river, so it's a fun weekend activity. Here a few of my favorite things to do in Williamsburg and Greenpoint:
Food & Drinks:
I've been a bit MIA on social media the last couple weeks because I've had a lot going on personally. One reason is because I moved out of my apartment at the end of August after living there for the last 7 years. It was the apartment I moved into when I got my first job after graduating college and had been there ever since. For those who don't know, I lived in Hoboken, NJ, which is right across the Hudson River, similar to living in Brooklyn or Queens. My first job was actually in New Jersey, not Manhattan, so at the time, I thought it made more sense to live in Hoboken rather than reverse commute from the city.
While Hoboken is a quaint little city and the home of Frank Sinatra, it was very small with not much to do. It was also very isolating. I lost touch with so many friends because I was the only one that didn't live in Brooklyn and was ghosted by so many guys as soon as they heard the word Hoboken. But year after year, I renewed my lease because the rent was cheap and stabilized, I had a washer and dryer in unit (a rarity) and because it was just easier to keep things status quo rather than take the risk of moving into a new place that might not be as good as my current apartment. I am a creature of habit. I always worry about making a wrong choice and when given the choice tend to stick with the familiar. But like many people, the pandemic forced me to re-evaluate and get out of my comfort zone.
Since the company I work for full time is still remote and will be until at least 2021, I didn't think it made sense to renew a lease on a place I wasn't 100 percent happy living in. Giving up an apartment I was so comfortable in was scary and I second guessed myself at times. But now 2 weeks later, I'm so happy with my decision to try something different. That was the apartment I spent my 20's in, and now that I'm 30, it felt like a good time to close that chapter.
Once things get a little more normal and I'm back in an office full time, I plan to look for a new apartment in Manhattan. In the meantime, I'm living a nomadic lifestyle, so I'll be staying in short term housing and won't be committing to a new long term lease. My first stop is NYC. I'm currently living and working remote in an Airbnb here until October, then will be going elsewhere. The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for so many people including myself, which at first was very stressful. However, instead of fighting this, I decided to embrace it and go with the flow. Being a nomad right now will give me more flexibility to live where is safest with the pandemic as well as try living in different places I wouldn't have the opportunity to otherwise if the pandemic hadn't happened.
As you can see from these photos, the cottage core aesthetic has gotten to me, so I decided to do a picnic photoshoot a few weeks ago. Cottage core is often synonymous with white flowing dresses and neutral color palettes, some things that aren't exactly my style, so I decided to put my own twist on the trend. I had ordered this green gingham bathing suit from J.Crew, but sadly the top was a bit too small. I still loved the color and print, so I wanted to find a way to make it work. I decided to style it with a white button up shirt, beret and vintage scarf, for a casual French vibe. I thought the mini green gingham would pair nicely with my big gingham picnic blanket. To complete the French vibe I of course added some fruit and a baguette.
I haven't felt like taking pictures or being creative on the internet much over the last couple months, so it was nice to be able to blast some Brigette Bardot in the backyard and get into this shoot. When the pandemic first hit, social media was my escape and I would spend my weekends taking pictures and making videos for Instagram and TikTok. As the summer progressed, Instagram became an extremely toxic place for me for a few reasons, so my motivation has not been there. Also, after being stuck indoors for so long in quarantine, I am taking every opportunity to be outside and off my phone. I'm spending my time walking in the city, riding bikes, going out to eat with friends, trying to take advantage of any sense of normalcy while the infection rates in NYC are low and the weather is warm.
My lack of appetite for social media has made me crave finding creativity in other avenues. I've been trying to make more time for reading and learning French on Duolingo. I started watching some classic old-Hollywood films that have been on my watchlist forever. I recently fixed my sewing machine and started sewing again. I've also been thinking about getting into journaling. A few years ago, I couldn't go a day without making time to scroll through my Instagram feed. My obsession was actually unhealthy, because I would have to scroll to the very last post I saw from the last time I was online. Now I go days without scrolling through my feed. It feels good not to have FOMO about what's happening on social media and finding enjoyment in other creative endeavors for the first time in a while.
As you may or may not know, I live in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is right across the river from Manhattan. When I first moved to the NYC area for work, I decided to live here because the job I moved for was actually based in NJ. At the time I didn't think it made sense to reverse commute from NYC to NJ, so Hoboken seemed like the best solution. Although it is a cute city and home of Frank Sinatra, it's not exactly my scene and end up spending most of my time in NYC for both work and pleasure. When people meet me, they often think I live in Brooklyn and I always joke that I basically just sleep in Hoboken because I'm never there.
Now that NYC is starting to reopen, I've begun to venture back in again, but I'm definitely not spending as much time as usual there and exploring my own backyard more. I went down by the water and took these photos. I thought the boats, water and view finders would make a good backdrop for this nautical look. I was also inspired by Pierrot Le Fou, so I added the beret and scarf for a French touch. The top is vintage from the '80s I recently got from Billie Jean Vintage.
A few days ago I had a socially distant staycation at The Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, NJ. Since the pandemic has put all of my travel plans on the back burner for the remainder of the year (RIP Paris), I wanted to try and make the most of the summer and plan some local adventures. I am originally from the South Jersey area, so I grew up going to the Jersey Shore every summer. I hadn’t been to Wildwood since I was very young, so I was excited to go back and check out all the 1950’s design and architecture it has to offer.
The Caribbean Motel was built in 1957. The current owners, Carolyn and George, purchased it back in 2004, and they’ve done an amazing job of updating the property while still preserving the atomic era design. There is a pool and shuffleboard court which guests can use. Both have been recently updated, but still pay homage to the property’s original amenities. The rooms were also clean and modern, but still hold on to the best parts of the past. During the day they play ’60s music outside by the pool. The speaker system is also hooked up in the rooms, so you can blast some retro tunes inside and really get in the mood. Carolyn told me the faux wood paneling is also original from the ’50s which they discovered accidentally while remodeling. I also loved the original 1950’s pink fixtures in the bathroom as well.
This was the first time staying in a hotel since the pandemic really hit, so although I was excited, I was also a bit hesitant. I read some articles about whether or not it was safe to stay in a hotel before the trip. Since health experts agree the most common way Covid-19 is transmitted is from person to person, the biggest risk staying in a hotel poses is the other guests you would encounter, say while checking in at the lobby or riding in an elevator. The Caribbean did a great job making sure people were socially distant. Upon checking in, only 1 person/family was allowed in the office at one time, and both Carolyn (who checked me in) and I wore masks while she got me situated. The keys were old school, but she assured me that they were all wiped down and sanitized between guests. As you can imagine, due to the pandemic, the motel capacity was a lot less than a typical summer. Since there was only a few other guests, there was plenty of room to spread out at the pool area. One day my sister and I even had the whole area to ourselves. They also limited how many people went in the actual pool at one time. They had soap and hand sanitizer readily available in the pool, office and other common areas. Our room was super clean as well when we arrived, but I did bring a bottle of Clorox wipes and sanitized the room myself just to be safe.
Overall, we had a great stay at The Caribbean and I can’t wait to come back again. If you’d like to learn more about the motel or book a stay, check out their website here.
*The Caribbean was kind enough to comp my room in exchange for this blog post and photos, but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
Although NYC is still on lockdown and the Coronavirus has certainly not disappeared, it feels like we're slowly closing the chapter on COVID-19 (for now anyway). I think I'm feeling this shift for a few reasons. Although the threat of the virus is still very real, the number of cases, hospital admissions and deaths have all significantly dropped in my area. I think it's also due to the fact that people are trying to reclaim as much normalcy as they can, especially now that Memorial Day has passed and summer is officially here. And most importantly, with the Black Lives Matter protests that have irrupted in the last week, it feels like Coronavirus has taken a back seat in comparison.
This time period will undoubtedly go down in history for many reasons, but it was definitely a time for personal growth and reflection as well. In some ways, quarantine felt like a time I'd want to erase from my memory forever, but I think it's important to document what you learned and felt, so I wanted to commemorate it with a blog post:
favorite TV shows + movies I watched:
favorite quarantine activity: TikTok
I downloaded TikTok over the summer, but I really didn't "get it". I thought it was for high schoolers, and I really couldn't imagine what kinds of videos I could create on there. Since I had more time during quarantine, I finally spent more time on the app and I understood it more. It's been fun to experiment with, and there are honestly some hilarious videos on there, which provided some much needed laughs during this dark time. I know a lot of people on Instagram said they felt like they had no energy to be creative during the pandemic, but for me, creating for social media was a great distraction.
something I accomplished:
Although I gave myself permission to not be productive 100% off the time while in quarantine, I did use this time to finally do a few things I had been putting off for months. One of those things on my to-do list was to design merchandise. I have been thinking about designing my own t-shirts, tote bags, pins, etc for a while now, and I finally got around to it. It took a few weeks for the samples to arrive, but they finally did last week, so I've started photographing them so I can post about them soon. I'm really excited to finally see my ideas come to life.
something I learned:
Pre-quarantine, I was constantly on the go, especially on weekends. I am someone who always aims to make the most out of life. I never want to feel like I missed out on something or that I let time or an opportunity pass me by, so my weekends are rarely spent at home just relaxing and watching Netflix. When quarantine first hit, I couldn't imagine sitting home for the ENTIRE weekend, and now here we are, 12 weeks later, every weekend spent at home.
At first, thinking about having to stay home and not being able to go out to a restaurant or museum or vintage store made me feel claustrophobic, but when it came down to it, I actually didn't hate being home as much as I thought I would. Most of this is probably due to the fact that everyone I know was at home, so I couldn't have FOMO. However, I also realized I didn't actually hate cooking or relaxing at home, like I had previously proclaimed. In reality, I had been avoiding being in my own apartment because my current roommate and her boyfriend were constantly there, acting as if it was their own apartment. She's since moved out and now having a taste at living alone, I realize how much happier and relaxed it would make me, so figuring out how to make this happen is a goal I'm currently trying to work on.
some photos I'm proud of:
Taking photos while restricted to my apartment or my mom's house was challenging, but I managed to take a few photos that I'm proud of. Here are a few of my favorites:
8 full weeks in quarantine now. I spent the first 3 weeks in my apartment, but the last 5 I’ve spent at my mom’s house. I usually (half) joke with my family about how much I hate coming home to the suburbs compared to being in NYC. However, during this time I’ve actually enjoyed being out of the city since I have more space and I’m no longer in the direct epicenter of the virus.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, continuing to create content has been the best distraction for me during this time, so of course I’m still trying to keep up with it here at my mom’s house. It’s been difficult without having access to my full wardrobe, all of my vintage props, or being able to venture around to cool locations, but I’m trying to do the best with what I have.
Nola from Ethereal Bunny Boutique, a vintage shop on Instagram, was kind enough to send me these 2 amazing pieces from her shop, which I photographed last weekend. The first piece is a velvet 1960’s dress with a trumpet sleeve that really makes the dress. The deep purple and sleeve detail reminded me of Austin Powers, so I wanted to go for a late ‘60s aesthetic for these photos. I took a short stroll down the block and stumbled across this gorgeous tree on my neighbors lawn. I think it was the perfect backdrop to give some literal flower power to the photos. I styled this dress more spring-y this time around, but I can’t wait to rock it next year for the holidays with black tights.
The second piece was this 80’s crayon sweater. I know a lot of people in the vintage community don’t like 80’s fashion, but I love all of the quirky sweaters that came out of this decade. On my walks I’ve been taking through my mom’s neighborhood I’ve spotted a few retro cars, so I decided to use this late 70’s one as a backdrop of these photos. I styled the sweater with high waisted denim shorts and ankle socks and sneakers to really play up the 80’s vibe.
I’m partnering up with Nola to give one of you a store credit to her shop. She has so many cute, colorful and quirky pieces in her shop from the 50’s-90’s. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites pieces on my stories, but you can check out everything she’s selling here. Head to my Instagram to find out how to enter the giveaway!
As of writing this post, it's been 3 full weeks now since I’ve been in self quarantine in my apartment. Like everyone I’m sure, I’ve had ups and downs. Some moments I feel good, happy to have time to sleep in and do laundry without feeling like I should be out in the city doing something more exciting. But some moments the anxiety creeps in, thinking about the uncertainty around all this and wondering when it will end. Not to mention the fear of the actual virus and what it’s doing to so many people around the world.
I’ve seen some girls on Instagram saying they haven’t been inspired to create through all of this, but for me, creating has been the thing keeping me sane. I took these photos the first weekend in quarantine, wearing a new skirt and shirt I thrifted a few weeks prior. I’m also one of those millennials who has joined TikTok since being in quarantine. I’m having a lot of fun figuring out this new platform and putting together little videos. There’s also some hilarious videos on there, which have been providing me some much needed comic relief.
Overall, as someone who is constantly out and about, I thought I would struggle during this time being stuck at home, but I’ve actually been enjoying my alone time. Although I can't wait to get back to thrift shopping, checking out new museum exhibits and meeting friends for food and drinks again, it's been kind of nice to be forced to slow down for a few weeks and has made me appreciate the little things more.
I think it’s important to do things that make you happy during this time. Whether that’s sleeping in or working on a side project. You don’t have to push yourself to be productive 24/7 while in quarantine. You don’t have to come out of this fluent in a new language or with 6 pack abs. I think the most important thing to come out of this with is an appreciation for the things we used to take for granted.
PS: If you'd like the link to my socks, you can find them here.
Socks: c/o Tabbi Socks
Top & Skirt: Vintage
Saddle Shoes: Eastland Shoes via DSW
As you know from my recent Instagram posts, I went to San Diego a couple weekends ago with my friend Adam. This was my first time visiting San Diego, and it was such an amazing city. Looking back now, I’m so grateful for the timing of this trip because things with the Coronavirus escalated so quickly after we returned. Here is a recap of our days, everywhere we ate, drank and shopped.
When we arrived in San Diego it was lunch time and we were starving, so we took an Uber downtown to La Puerta, a Mexican restaurant with walls covered in celebrity mug shots and a bathroom dedicated to Jim Morrison. It was a cool vibe and the food was solid too. I had a margarita and cheese quesadilla. We walked around the downtown area a bit before jumping in another Uber to The Kings Inn where we were staying. You can read my post all about our stay here.
After checking in and taking some photos by the pool, we took another Uber back downtown. We wanted to do happy hour at The Pearl, another hotel with a bar/restaurant, but unfortunately they were closed for renovations. So instead we got back into an Uber and went back downtown to Trailer Park After Dark, a dive bar decorated kitschy with mobile homes inside. After grabbing a $5 well drink, we got some food at Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers before calling it a night and heading back to the hotel. It was pretty much a sports bar, but the food was solid and they did have some vintage decor, which I of course appreciated.
The next day we were up bright and early (thanks time difference) and headed to Rudford’s for breakfast. Rudford’s is a classic diner which has been open since 1949. We learned there is even a famous photo of JFK in front of the historic diner from when he drove by in a motorcade on his way to give a commencement speech at a local college. I got pancakes and they were delicious.
After breakfast we took an Uber to South Park to meet my friend Amanda. Amanda and I have been Instagram friends for years now, so it was so great to finally meet her in real life and have her as our tour guide. The first store we went at was Bad Madge, which was so adorably curated and had a mix of vintage clothes, jewelry, home decor and knickknacks for both men and women. There is also a super cute record store called Vinyl Junkies a few stores down, so we stopped in there as well, but they only sell new, modern records, no used, vintage records.
After South Park, Amanda was kind enough to drive us to North Park. The first store we went into was The Girl Can’t Help It, which had amazing vintage pieces for both men and women, but was very expensive. Next we went into another store called Mila, a women’s wear store that was a mix of modern and vintage women's wear that was also pricey. Last, we went into Hunt and Gather, which was funkier and more affordable with mostly 80’s, 90’s and modern pieces.
After North Park, it was back in the car to the Normal Heights neighborhood. We went to La Loupe, which was definitely one of my favorite vintage stores of the day because it was very well curated and super affordable. I found an amazing red handbag that was in almost perfect condition for only $24. There is also a super cute record store next door called Nickelodeon Records.
After shopping we went to Soda and Swine for some food. We all ordered Coke floats and mac and cheese. The food was really tasty and affordable and they also have an amazingly priced happy hour for food and drinks. Soda and Swine is sort of a speakeasy because it connects to a cocktail bar called Polite Provisions. This is my one regret of the trip not having a drink here because it looked adorable and you can even order food from Soda and Swine and have it next door at Polite Provisions.
After lunch, Amanda had to go to work, so Adam and I continued on our own. We walked to Zack’s Attic and did some more shopping here, where I found 2 Coca-Cola thimbles. Next we walked to Frock You! and I’m so glad we did because they were having a huge sale. The pieces in the store were a bit on the pricey side, but outside they had pieces that were very affordable. I got 2 dresses, a belt and sunglasses here. Down the street from Frock You!, La Loupe has another location which we went to next. I didn’t find anything here, but like their other location, it was still very well curated and affordable.
After shopping, we decided to grab a drink at Sycamore Den. This bar was super cozy with a fireplace and ‘70s decor. They also had skee ball machines as well. After a drink, we went next door to Nozaru for ramen, which was delicious, and probably one of my favorite ramen places I’ve even been to.
The next day, Amanda came to meet us at our hotel to have breakfast at The Waffle Spot, located right in The Kings Inn. The waffles were really good, I got a plain waffle with whipped cream and strawberries.
Next we went to Kobey’s Swap Meet, a flea market that’s been around since the ‘70s. I scored a record, dress and a few t-shirts here. Across the street from the flea was a giant antique mall called Consignment Classics. This antique mall was clean, bright and super well curated, we honestly could have spent hours here.
After the antique mall, we drove to Ocean Beach. Ocean Beach is super hippy and reminded me a lot of Venice Beach. We went into Ocean Beach Antique Mall here as well, where I found a pin. The owners had two dogs that hung out at the counter too, so that made me really happy to see. After shopping, we walked to the beach and took some polaroids.
After Ocean Beach, Adam and I had to check into the Airbnb we were staying at for the remainder of the trip. We stayed in one in the North Park area, so Amanda was nice enough to drive us and drop us off. After checking in, we went to Ranchos, a Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood. It was a no fuss, authentic type of place, which was just what we wanted after a long day of shopping and walking. I got the cheese enchiladas with rice and beans, which were solid, and a sangria. Their sangria and margaritas are both only $5 all day long. After dinner we hopped in an Uber and went downtown to False Idol, a tiki bar, which did not disappoint. I had The Painkiller, which is usually my tiki drink of choice.
The next day we started with breakfast at Snooze, a mid century modern style eatery. The food was super good, I had the huevos rancheros and the vibe was cute too. After breakfast, we coincidentally walked by Flashbacks, the last vintage store on our list. This one was also super affordable and was a mix of vintage, but also costumes and accessories too. I found a skirt for only $10 here.
We continued our walk to Balboa Park. The park is gorgeous and has so much beautiful architecture, it almost feels like being in Europe. We went to the San Diego Zoo first since we knew this would take up most of the day. Since the zoo is huge, we were a bit overwhelmed when first arriving, so an employee suggested we take a bus tour, included in admission. The bus tour took about 30 minutes and covers the majority of the zoo. You don’t get off the bus, but you can see animals from the bus and it will help you decide which areas you want to go back and see on foot. After the bus we walked around and saw more of the animals. We spent a little over 3 hours here, but you could easily spend all day here. Admission for a standard adult ticket is $58.
After the zoo, we checked out the carousel which is right nearby. Of course we decided to ride it, and a ride costs $3 per rider. Next we walked to the San Diego Automotive Museum. They have classic cars and artifacts on display, but I really wanted to go to because they currently have a 1970’s exhibit on display. It was a really cool museum and admission is only $12.
After a long day of walking through the park, we went back to North Park for dinner. We settled on a bar called Working Class with solid burgers (I had a beyond burger) and beers. After dinner, we walked to get ice cream at Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream.
We only had about half a day on our last day in San Diego, so we woke up early and went to Donut Bar. I went to their Vegas location a couple years ago and have been dreaming about their donuts ever since. After breakfast we went to the Maritime Museum because Adam wanted to check it out. They have several boats you can go on, one of the boats that acts as more of the museum. It was cool to see and admission was only $20.
After checking out of the Airbnb, we went back to Rudford’s for one more meal with Amanda. This time I got a cheese omelet and a Coke, which was equally as delicious.
If you made it to the end of this post, thank you! I hope you enjoyed this recap of the trip. If you have any other questions about any of the places I mentioned, feel free to ask!
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I wanted to find a retro hotel to stay at while in San Diego. When I came across The Kings Inn, I immediately fell in love with the mid century modern vibes. It looked adorable and seemed super affordable as well. After doing more research on Yelp, I found mixed reviews so I became more hesitant to book it. I spoke to my friend Amanda who is a local and knows people who have stayed there. She assured me it was a good motel, so we decided to take our chances. For some reason every hotel we looked at was booked on Sunday night, so we decided to book The Kings Inn for 2 nights then find an Airbnb for the remainder of the trip.
While we did love the Airbnb, I’m glad we decided to stay at The Kings Inn for a couple nights. It’s definitely not a luxury hotel, but it is a good value for the cost. The rooms were small, but renovated and clean. The pool area was cute and kitschy (although the pool itself was heated, it was still a bit too cool to go swimming). They also have 2 places to eat on the hotel property, The Amigo Spot, a Mexican restaurant, and The Waffle Spot, a breakfast place. We didn’t try the Mexican place, but we did have breakfast at The Waffle Spot one morning and it was delicious. They also give you a discount on your food if you’re a hotel guest. My only complaint is that the walls were very thin and we were woken up by our very loud neighbors one night.
I’d definitely recommend The Kings Inn if you’re looking for a cute and affordable spot to stay in San Diego. You can check out their website here.