Upper East Side: The Food Guide

I have several issues with typical NYC food guides. First of all, they usually ignore the Upper East Side and that’s where I live, so that’s not cool. Secondly, if they do happen to mention the UES, they pretend that the area is roughly East 59th to East 65th Street. Um, no. Also, the guides do not seem relevant to me. I’m not about to go on a date night to a vegan restaurant and I don’t order three appetizers. I just want to know where a girl in her 20’s can have a little fun. Mkay?

So if you are planning on taking a trip to the real Upper East Side and you’re not looking to be the next New York Times food critic, welcome to my favorite UES spots.

the real UES deal, friends.

the real UES deal, friends.

Bagels, since it deserves it’s own category: Pick a Bagel

I have a special relationship with Pick a Bagel. We first met in Gramercy, which is the first place I lived in New York. Those six weeks were crazy, but, if anything, I gained a bagel go-to destination amongst all of the competition.

Favorite Meal: Their everything bagel with egg salad, no additional toppings needed. Even at 9 AM, this sandwich tastes like heaven.

UES Locations: 1101 Lexington Ave. (at 77th); 1475 2nd Ave. (between 76th and 77th)

Classy yet boozy brunch: Parlor Steakhouse

My problem with some bottomless brunch places is that they can get really sloppy really fast. I’m not looking for that anymore. Parlor Steakhouse is classy enough to bring your grandparents – I speak from experience here – yet awesome enough to offer a truly delicious “bottoms up” $27 brunch menu.

Favorite Meal: Be prepared to break your diet for the Crispy Chicken Club. The leftovers heat up great, so don’t forget to take the rest home.

Location: 1600 3rd Ave. (at 90th)

No-one-wants-to-cook date night: Gino’s Pizzeria

At the end of the workday, sometimes I just want to trade dinner duty for a glass of wine. We make our own meals most of the time, but Gino’s is our main spot for when we need a little break. It’s nice yet affordable enough to go for no reason other than laziness. You can also order delivery if you are already in your pajamas. Not that I would know anything about that …

Favorite Meal: Linguine with Shrimp (with garlic and olive oil). It’s so simple, but so good. Bonus: I love saving some of the shrimp for an omelet the next day.

Location: 345 E. 83rd St. (between 1st and 2nd)

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Monday Confession: My Workout Clothes Are Embarrassing

Dear everyone, I hate working out. Even if the workout is kind of fun, like yoga at work or “cardio jam,” I still wonder when it’s going to be over every five minutes. However, I love eating sweet things, salty things, and carb-y things more than I hate working out. So there you go.

I think I would enjoy the workout experience more if I traded in my gross old college t-shirts and dance leggings from middle school (Capezio, bitches) for real workout clothes. I actually judge myself, so I can’t imagine what other people are thinking.

Goal for when I’m 30: No more sorority t-shirts paired with leggings that I bought when I was literally twelve years old. I know this gives me a lot of time, but it’s hard to prioritize getting workout gear when there are so many more important things to buy. Like food and electricity.

Yesterday, I walked five miles for Making Strides for Breast Cancer and realized that I was very low on pink attire. I seem to have a rare collection of non-pink Phi Mu shirts. I would have loved to wear any and all of this gear. In fact, I would wear these things all the time! Workout Fairy, are you listening?

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Credits: Nike Pro Printed Sports Bra, Nike.com, $35; Women’s UA Twisted Tech Short Sleeve T-Shirt, UnderArmour.com, $25; Women’s Adidas Techfit Climawarm+ Top, Adidas.com, $65; C9 by Champion Women’s Running Shorts, Target.com, $17; Sweaty Bands Rock Solid Headband, DicksSportingGoods.com, $15; SmartWool PhD Running Ultra Light Micro Socks, REI.com, $16; ASICS Women’s GT-1000 2 PR Running Shoes, SportsAuthority.com, $100.

Don’t Be Tardy for the Cardi Party

When I was in college, my aunt’s husband’s sister informed me that she no longer bought anything that was not suitable for both going out/weekend and work. At the time, I was like, “Are you freaking insane?” and refused to consider that as a shopping tactic. However, now that I have a closet that is roughly the width of my body and, oh yeah, I’m living in the most expensive city imaginable, I can see her point. I can’t stomach getting rid of my Lilly dresses, which now fulfill exactly zero of my needs as I have abandoned the South, but I’m also not buying anything new that is not perfect for multiple occasions.

Note: Obviously this only works for people who work in creative offices. It’s a small victory for the people making smaller salaries (generally speaking).

When it comes to day-to-night staples, there are, of course, blazers, dark-wash jeans (sigh), and above-the-knee-without-being-scandalous dresses. But my favorite piece to make the transition from office to bar is the cardigan. Easy to wear and easy to throw into your purse before 6 p.m. The cardigan is what allows you to wear a going out top or dress to the office with ease. And I’m completely cool with wearing them out to dinner or running errands on the weekends.

I’ve rounded up some neutral-ish cardigans I love so much that I may have to cave and buy one … or two … The best part of them being neutral is that you can wear them all the time, obviously.

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Top L to R: Olive and Oak Cardigan, Bloomingdales.com, $75; Chunky Cardigan, Gap.com, $60; Embellished Cardi, OldNavy.com, $35; Evening Blooms Cardigan, Anthropologie.com, $130; MICHAEL Michael Kors Long-Sleeve Faux-Leather Cardigan, Macys.com, $110.

Bottom L to R: Classic Marino Long Cardigan, JCrew.com, $90; Madeleine Cardigan, LillyPulitzer.com, $270; Journal Cardigan, Madewell.com, $85; Prep School Varsity Cardigan, Forever21.com, $30; Knit Cardigan, HM.com, $25.

Easy, Breezy Ballet Flats

Crazy confession: I wear heels maybe five times a year now. Throughout the summer after my freshman year of college, I would literally run to the T (subway) in Boston every morning in my heels, which I proceeded to wear until I went to the gym after work. My excessive heel wearing, coupled with the four flights of stairs to my tiny, sweltering hot apartment, nearly wrecked my already fragile knees for good.

Unfortunately, we are currently in the part of fall that doesn’t feel cold enough for boots, and my flats are looking busted, as I mentioned in an earlier post. After that post’s publication, I bought a pair of Banana Republic flats during their fall super sale, but they only seem to fit on my bare feet, not tights. Bizarre.

My dear friend came to visit me (well, and her sister) over the weekend and, coincidentally, experienced a flats casualty. So both of us were short on flats. Unfortunately, I was unable to assist her with a single new flats recommendation. I have since educated myself by doing some serious online window shopping.

I don’t think I can justify buying another flats purchase, but maybe one could be a Thanksgivukkah gift?

 

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Clockwise, then middle: Animal Print Ballet Flats, Gap.com, $50; Dress Up Flats, ChineseLaundry.com, $50; Velvet Azelea Ballet Flats, ToryBurch.com, $250; Jimmy Choo ‘Whirl’ Ballet Flats, Nordstrom.com, $450; Salvatore Ferragamo Varina Quilted-Leather Ballerinas, MyTheresa.com, $560; Merona Madeleine Chain Ballet Flats, Target.com, $22.

Fall Fashion Trend: Dotted Tights

After some confusion last week, it is officially fall, which means I will likely be wearing tights from now through the end of May. (See previous post on hating pants.) That’s a lot of tight wearage. Though I have many pairs of tights, most of them are getting pretty old and gross from too much cold weather and general city exposure. I will definitely be buying a pair or two this season. Luckily, my office is very creative and fun so I can pull off (almost) anything.

Apparently dotted tights rule this season, which is convenient, because I am wearing a pair today! I’ve rounded up my favorites, including one pair of leggings that could easily act as tights.

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Top Row L to R: Gap Sheer Dot Tights, Gap.com, $15; Merona Large Dot Tights, Target.com, $10; Spot Spade Legging, KateSpade.com, $38; Factory Polka-Dot Tights, Factory.JCrew.com, $18.50.

Bottom Row L to R: Pindot Tights, Anthropologie.com, $29.50; Polka Dot Tight, UrbanOutfitters.com, $14; My Kind of Pearl Tights by Ruby Rocks, ModCloth.com, $25; Wolfold Carre Square Dot Tights, US.Asos.com, $55.

Will you be wearing dotted tights this season?

Curvy Girl Probs: Pants Stuggles

For those of you who know me outside of the interwebs, you probably know that I often avoid pants. Why? Pants are almost always uncomfortable for me. Majorly uncomfortable. They are too tight in the front and yet have a huge gap in the back. Does this make sense? No.

I have tried having pants altered. This does not work for me, at least not after a few wears. I have actually detached a belt loop at the top trying to get jeans over my butt only to have stretched the pants out to the point where they no longer fit at the waist level. These were high quality jeans, people! (RIP.) It’s not like I went to Forever 21.

So, because my struggles are surely far from unique, I am saddened by how little effort the fashion world has put forth to remedy this situation. “Curvy” fits are lies! I remember when Gap came out with their curvy fits (yes, this was years ago) and I was so excited … until they fit me more poorly than the regular damn jeans! If anyone has actually had success with these pants, please let me know.

LOFT also recently pretended they had a curvy fit. Glamour editors came in and were like, “oh wait, I fit into both the regular and the curvy fits.” In theory, that shouldn’t be possible! Unless this is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

I know some people think that leggings are not pants, but those people also don’t tend to have a waist to hip size differential that heavily favors this magical piece of genius. I wear leggings as pants all the time, with a long shirt of course.

Though I have also been told you have to be a size 0 to pull this off, I recently bought a pair of Target Merona polka dot legging/pant things after a failed attempt to view Phillip Lim for Target clothing that wasn’t size XL. The pants were on clearance –- apparently Target shoppers got the “you have to be a toothpick to pull this off” memo as well –- and they happen to be my favorite quasi-pants around. They are still not perfect, and I would be scared to view my backside, but they are something.

these, but lighter.

these, but lighter.

Full disclosure: After looking these pants up on the Internet, I discovered that they have a “curvy fit” as well. Well, good for Target! You win.

**By the way, I also have problems with shirts, though it doesn’t bother me as much. I actually get Banana Republic shirts in “petite” (though I am 5’5” with a long torso) and find that they fit better for whatever reason. At other stores, I just go big or go home.

Alone in the Apartment: How I (Barely) Survived

Watching House Hunters is often hilarious. I love when couples are looking for apartments/condos and they are like, “I don’t think we can share a bathroom” or “I want three bedrooms.”

I think they should have a TV show where these double-sink-demanding duos try to live in an apartment as tiny as mine.

Our apartment is very cramped (hello, I live in Manhattan), and it becomes especially cozy when I am trying to work and my boyfriend is yelling at someone through his video game headphones. Or I want to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians and he wants to watch football. Sigh. I feel like I will never fully catch up with that family.

in case you forgot what my apt. looks like.

this is like half my apartment. slight exaggeration.

And yet, when I suddenly had the apartment to myself for four days, it was terrible. I had no idea how terrible it would be until it went down, but here are some things that happened.

1. Security Phobia. I checked that the door was locked and deadbolted roughly 12 times per night but still felt unsure.

1a. I didn’t want to open my second floor apartment windows for fear that someone would somehow crawl in through the window. Since our air conditioner is currently leaking like pouring rain and is therefore unusable, I had some hot nights.

(Keep in mind that we live in a very safe neighborhood near an elementary school.)

2. Sad meals. I had this for dinner one night.

ants on a log. womp.

ants on a log. womp.

Not that I couldn’t cook or order in or pick something up, but all of these options felt sad to do when it was just me.

3. Scheduling Issues. I was super groggy waking up. I am so used to a 5:30 am alarm to ease me into getting up that I forgot what it was like to just wake up right away (I don’t believe in the snooze button.) It was slightly … alarming. Ha.

3a. I didn’t go to bed with the boyfriend (who has a 10 pm bedtime most nights), so I stayed up until I was like, wait a second, I have work tomorrow. But no one told me it was time for bed!

So basically, I can never live alone.

“Creativity” in the Kitchen: What’s in My Lunchbox

The irony of being young in New York is that there are so many great places to have lunch but you cannot afford them. Alas, I am stuck crafting my own poor lunch concoctions in the kitchen while watching the Today show pre-work. If it’s not a leftover day, I’m in trouble.

"fill me," says my lunchbox.

“fill me,” says my lunchbox.

Yesterday, I prepared something I’ll call “bowl of mystery.” If you’d like to recreate this intriguing recipe, here are my steps:

  1. Pull out Uncle Ben’s Instant Rice (I prefer brown rice but all we had was white) and dump out ½ cup into a pan with ½ cup water.
  2. While that is boiling dig around in your pantry/fridge and discover raisins, spinach, cremini mushrooms, and Purdue pre-made chicken.
  3. Your rice is boiling. Turn off the heat and add it a chopped mushroom or two. Let that sit covered for 5 minutes while you chop up a small handful of chicken into smaller pieces and rip up a small handful of spinach (yes, this is amateur hour).
  4. Combine rice/mushrooms, chicken, spinach and one small box of raisins (mine was 90 calories worth) into Tupperware.
  5. Once hungry at work, hit “reheat single serving” on your microwave.

Now, if you are like me, this is not going to cut it. I also packed a morning snack of O’Soy yogurt (sorry not sorry about the ridiculous amount of sugar) and BBQ Wheat Thins as an afternoon snack.

And I go through around 70 ounces of water in an eight-hour workday, so having a water bottle is essential. I’m a thirsty girl!

What do you pack in your lunch? Suggestions welcome!

New York City Sports Mini Series: Round 1 – Baseball

Recently, or not so recently since magazines plan well in advance, Marie Claire decided that girls don’t know s^&* about football and did an insert that told us what was up. Almost everyone seemed to love it but I was left feeling sad because they didn’t trust us to know football basics. Can’t a girl enjoy mid-priced fashion, work etiquette stories, lukewarm celebrity profiles and sports? I think we could actually have it all. I know it was trying to encourage girls to love football, but I think plenty of us could have used a more advanced guide if one of them was going to be published at all.

What we do need to know is not what kind of food we should be whipping up in the kitchen while our boyfriends get to watch the game in the other room. What we need to know is what to expect when we actually go to sports venues and root these people on. Hello! I want to be front and center here.

I have yet to see the Nets play at Barclays (RIP New Jersey Nets) and I haven’t seen the Knicks play live ever, so I’ll leave basketball out of this series. But, I have been to baseball, football and hockey games in the NYC area, so I feel qualified to discuss those. I am splitting the blog posts by sport, so we all don’t get overwhelmed. Look for football and hockey, err, later? For now, we’ll start with baseball.

Baseball: Mets vs. Yankees

Overall heat rating: After growing up with the Oakland A’s, I assumed that everyone was head over heels for his or her respective baseball teams everywhere – win or lose. This is not really the case in New York, especially with the poor Mets. Go team? But, as you can see below, this works well for ticket prices and people’s understanding when you don’t show up head to toe in Yankees gear.

First off, the New York Mets.

get off the subway when you see this.

get off the subway when you see this.

Getting There: If you are in Manhattan and don’t want to drive, this is kind of a drag. It’s not worth it cost-wise to take the LIRR, so at some point you are going to hop on the 7 and hope it’s an express train. From the Upper East Side, this process can take nearly an hour.

Food and Drink: Delicious! I love the food here. Want Mexican for some reason? They’ve got it. Want sushi? No problem. And they have a great selection of beer, in case you want to deviate from Bud Light.

Stadium: The stadium is amazing. You can have umbrellas. You can bring in snacks. You can bring in unopened water. Everything is new. It’s not crowded.

Pregame/Postgame Fun: We’ve tailgated, but it wasn’t great. The rules are pretty strict about drinking I guess. We’ve also been to a nearby hotel bar to have a bite to eat beforehand. Nothing amazing though. I would stick to hanging out in the city pre/post game.

Ticket Prices: Cheap. We’re going this weekend and sitting in the sixth row (first base line) for $35. Say what?

Next, by default, the New York Yankees.

Go team that’s playing against the Yankees!

Getting There: If you live on east side of Manhattan, getting to and from Yankee Stadium is a breeze on the 4 train (though it’s understandably packed after work). The B and D trains also go there.

Food and Drink: I prefer the food that the Mets have to offer. But, it’s a baseball game, and you can’t go wrong with a hot dog and some expensive light beer.

Stadium: The stadium is fine. It’s not the old stadium, which makes some people sad – me included – but there is nothing wrong with this one. Umbrellas and food are okay to bring in here, too.

Pregame/Postgame Fun: The Yankees win with this one. There are some great bars to go to in the area, two of them being Stan’s and Billy’s. The drinks are obviously cheaper outside of the stadium, so this is a good way to go. One thing though: these places are going to be packed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you

Ticket Prices: Not bad either, honestly. Even though the Yankees are fighting for a wild card spot these days, you can still get a decent seat for $30-$40.

Overall Winner: The Mets. Well, I have to give an important disclaimer: I hate the Yankees. Still, I prefer the Mets stadium and their yummy food and more fun fans (in my opinion – don’t hate!). Let’s be real: I’m always up for a baseball game, no matter where it’s played.

Manhattan: Murderer of My Shoes

Here’s something I didn’t realize until I actually moved to Manhattan: living in a giant city wrecks havoc on your shoes.

It really is incredible.

I refuse to be one of those people strolls around in work clothes and tennis shoes so, as a compromise, I wear comfy(ish) flats. The problem is that I walk so damn much, even when I’m not trying.

Exhibit A: The Ivanka Trump shoes my mom bought me last year. Keep in mind that these are no cheap shoes. One of the holes is so bad that it actually goes all the way through the shoe. Last week I was like, “Wow, it feels like I am walking directly on the sidewalk.” And, lo and behold, I actually was. So. Gross.

photo (2)

Exhibit B: Aldo shoes, also bought last year. Now, these were pretty cheap, but still. Why is the side already coming apart?

photo (1)

Even my beloved Tory Burches, which I try not to wear often, are in desperate need of a polish.

I don’t even wear flats in late fall/winter/early spring. I’m a boots girl! (Don’t even get me started on the state of my boots.)

Anyway, if you are considering moving here, beware.

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