My 10 Favorite New York Spots

My 10 Favorite New York Spots

Hey guys! I was recently tapped to provide my “NYC Hush Tips” for an amazing site called Behind The Scenes NYC. I dug really deep on this one, and wanted to share my Top 10 Favorite New York Spots with you all! If you want to check out the full article including commentary from the Fernanda, the incredible boss lady of Behind The Scenes NYC, check it out here.

My 10 Favorite New York Spots:

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is pop into galleries in the LES and Chelsea. It’s a nice alternative to hitting up a crowded museum, plus they’re completely free to enjoy. David Zwirner, Paul Kasmin, and Richard Taittinger are a few of my go-tos.

Brooklyn Flea is basically the cooler younger sister to Chelsea Market, There’s something for everyone, from vintage rings and designer bags to viney plants and eclectic home decor. Not to mention, they have some of the most popular food vendors from Smorgasburg minus the lines.

Mile High Run Club is probably my favorite place to break a sweat in the city. It’s essentially a treadmill class with dimmed lighting, bumpin’ music and strobe lights with a coach cheering you on through a series of intervals and hills. I recommend Dash 28 because it finishes with strength training utilizing kettle bells and core exercises.

HeyDay is easily one of my best NYC finds. My skin went nuts when I moved to the city in the heart of winter from Florida, and this place introduced me to several natural products that I now swear by.

For those who need a breather from the city, Harriman State Park is your sanctuary. It’s just a quick train ride from the city and much less crowded than some of the other hiking spots like Breakneck and Bear Mountain.

The Jane is my favorite spot to go out in the city. It basically feels like you’re at a mansion party where your favorite songs are always playing and dancing on the furniture is encouraged. Every time I have a friend visiting, I take them there and they’re never disappointed.

For an intimate live music experience, hit up Rockwood Music Hall. A friend introduced me to this venue and it was everything I could’ve hoped for. While there are shows that require cover, there is a smaller room to the left of the main entrance that is free of charge.

After a night out, nothing compares to Black Seed Bagels. #11 always satisfies! Another favorite is Tompkins Square Bagels if you’re in the mood for trying out a new cream cheese flavor like birthday cake or one of their french toast bagels.

Buddha Bodhai is an incredible vegetarian spot in Chinatown. The food is delicious (you can’t even tell there’s no meat) and the atmosphere is so authentic. I highly recommend the sesame “chicken.”

dia: beacon day trip

Dia:Beacon is the perfect day trip for anyone craving a little artistic adventure, especially if you love installations! Be sure to purchase a round trip ticket with museum entrance included at Grand Central Station. Check out my full blog post on my experience here.

img_3033.jpg

Calling all locals and visitors alike, what’s your favorite spot in New York?

Jenna Signature

Budapest Like A Local

Budapest Like A Local

This week, I decided to dig deep into my photo archives and revisit destinations I’ve yet to blog about. Though pictures on a screen don’t do Budapest justice, they rekindled that head over heels feeling this city gave me.

Last summer, I spent three nights in Budapest with my dad and brother. From the moment I laid eyes on the Parliament Building, I was in awe. During the day, the contrast of the strong gothic architecture against the serene Danube River was enough to make me swoon, but as the day went on, I fell even more in love with it. Viewing the building from Fisherman’s Bastion (on the Buda side) was one of the highlights of my visit, but seeing it completely lit up in gold at night while birds resembling shooting stars danced above it truly took my breath away.

My time spent in Budapest was hardly enough for me to feel capable of offering advice on “top must-sees,” so I decided to pick my friend @diathesun‘s brain about the place she once called home. Dia lives in NYC, but grew up in Budapest and returns there every summer to attend Sziget Music Festival.

If you aren’t familiar with Budapest, the first thing you should know is that it’s divided by the Danube River into Buda and Pest (pronounced pesht). Some of the more touristy spots I visited and Dia recommends are Buda Castle, Hero’s Square, and the Hungarian State Opera House. All are rich in history, and not too shabby to look at (and by that, I mean not at all).

The National Gallery located inside the Buda Castle has a wonderful collection of Hungarian masterpieces placed in an amazing art deco building. Dia recommends keeping an eye out for their special exhibitions as last summer they had a Picasso and a Modigliani retrospective at the same time. Budapest also has a large Jewish community and is home to Europe’s largest temple, the Dohany Steer Synagogue.

We both agree that a visit to the Széchenyi Baths should be at the top of your list! I ended up getting a full hour body massage for roughly 60 euros (a steal compared to US prices) and it was one of the most heavenly experiences I’ve ever had. Not to mention, Széchenyi is the largest thermal bath in Europe with 20 baths of different sizes and temperatures (both indoor and outdoor), saunas, steam rooms and more. What more could a girl ask for?! Gellért Baths is a good alternative if you’re into having options.

Moving on to food. To be honest, I had a bad stomach bug in Budapest so I didn’t really get to enjoy the cuisine (one of my favorite parts about traveling), so this is where Dia comes in big time! Her favorite restaurant is Rosenstein, known for their selection of wild game and “the best matza ball soup in town.” She also recommends her friend’s restaurant, Keksz, as a locals-only spot to grab a burger and beer.

A must-try Hungarian dish is Lángos, which is basically fried dough. I picked one up at the Great Market Hall, another must-see spot, and tried it with bananas, strawberries and nutella, but you can get just about anything you want as a topping! The Great Market Hall has everything from local cuisine to specialty crafts. Hungary is well-known for its lace, which you’ll notice once you start wandering around the city, so I picked up a piece from a vendor there.

If you’re planning a night out, take advice from a local and head to Belvaros or English Inner City (District V). There are also a ton of pubs all around Wesselenyi street. According to Dia, summer is the best time to visit Budapest because there are so many young people from all over the world. But rest assured, no matter when you visit, you won’t be disappointed. In my opinion, Budapest is definitely one of Europe’s most underrated destinations.

Visiting Budapest? Have a question I didn’t answer? Reach out to me in the comments!

Hero's Square

Hero’s Square
Great Market Hall

Great Market Hall
Langos

Langos
Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Baths

Szechenyi baths

Parliament Building

Parliament Building
Parliament building

Fisherman’s Bastion

Hungarian State Opera House

Hungarian State Opera House
Hungarian State Opera House

Danube Bank Architecture

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Jenna Signature

Pin it!
budapest

Moab Memories

Moab Memories

Utah has always been a place I’ve had a soft spot for. My aunt and uncle have lived there since I was little, and as a FL girl I always wanted to visit during the winter to play in the snow and go skiing. But this summer, I got to see a completely different side of Utah — one that completely and utterly took my breath away.

Starved for a change of pace from the demands of city life, I packed my bags, grabbed my favorite gal, and headed out west without the slightest hesitation.

After touching down in Salt Lake, we made home in the coziest little RV I’ve ever been in (ok, the only one I’ve been in). The Wildcat was equipped with a bathroom, shower, kitchen and plenty of booze to make my uncle’s signature Moscow mules — glamping at its finest!

After an unbelievably scenic drive, we made it to Moab. It was a bit late for us to take a hike, but our little group couldn’t wait to indulge in the magic of this orange-hued heaven. It was the perfect excuse for a drive through the grounds, including a stop at Park Avenue and Balancing Arch. From the moment we entered Arches National Park, I was in a state of euphoria.

The days that followed consisted of nothing but pure bliss. I walked alongside some of Mother Earth’s greatest masterpieces, let the winds carry me away in a hot air balloon, jetted around on the Colorado River, drove out on pitch black roads to lay under the most gorgeous blanket of stars, and was even convinced by locals to free fall out of a freaking airplane (still can’t believe that happened!).

To be frank, you kind of ruined me, Moab. You showed me a new side of travel that I never knew I would love so much — one completely centered around nature. If you’re at all hesitating whether or not to visit this little adventure town, I offer you a single word of advice: go.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

skydiving

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Pack this:

Don’t miss:
Arches National Park: Delicate Arch, Double Arch, Balancing Arch, Mesa Arch
Canyonlands National Park: Upheaval Dome, Needles
Dead Horse State Park: Dead Horse Point
Canyonlands Ballooning
Colorado River Jet Boat Tour
Skydive Moab
Moab Made

Eat this:
Twisted Sistas
The Blu Pig
Eddie McStiff’s (bison burger!)
Moab Brewery

Good to know:
—Ditch the hotel and shack up in an RV, tent or at Moab Under Canvas
—Download the REI app for info on all of the trails
—Keep an eye out for little stacked rocks that indicate the direction of the trail
—Bathrooms and few and far between– use them when you see them!
—There’s no such thing as having too much water or taking too many pictures

Shout out to my aunt and uncle for the most incredible trip! We’ll never forget it!

Jenna Signature

A Love Letter to Brooklyn

A Love Letter to Brooklyn

It’s crazy to think my first anniversary of living in New York is already creeping up on me. Trips from Florida to visit my best friend feel like they were just yesterday; my first time walking the Brooklyn Bridge within reach.

In hindsight, I definitely took Brooklyn for face value on our first date. Notable sights like the bridge and promenade lured me in, but I had no idea of the adventures that would soon unfold. I’m still peeling back Brooklyn’s layers to this day, each more intriguing than the last.

I wish I could go back to my first time walking the Brooklyn Bridge and give myself a little preview of the memories I’d make: rooftop sunsets in Williamsburg; eating my weight in ramen burgers at smorgasburg; wandering aimlessly through dumbo and taking home [too many] overpriced succulents from Brooklyn flea; Sunday afternoons lounging in Prospect Park; filling up my camera’s memory card at the botanic garden; solo strolls through Prospect Heights; gazing out over the Hudson with fresh seafood and beers in Red Hook; and waking up in bed with best friends in Buschwick, most notably during blizzard Jonas– which I barely made it back to Manhattan from before all public transportation closed.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of those walks that evokes a sense of both nostalgia and excitement over the unknown every time. What lies on the other side of Manhattan is something special; something worth getting to know. Simply put– I’ve got a soft spot for ya, Brooklyn.

Shoutout to Frank Simmons, (@frankisglobal & @still.cinema) for taking these shots! I’m wearing the Free People Nikita Dress on the Brooklyn Bridge, and Citizen’s Liya Jeans with a black bodysuit in the skyline shot (all linked below!).

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

img_3033.jpg

Jenna Signature

Day Trip to Dia: Beacon

Day Trip to Dia: Beacon

Living in a city as busy, and sometimes downright exhausting as New York often leaves me itching for a getaway. Working and doing the whole ‘adulting’ thing full-time creates the illusion that I no longer have free time, and lately I’ve been falling into a bit of a routine with a bad case of the travel bug (next Europe trip, where you at?!).

While an elaborate getaway isn’t in the cards for me this year, I still can’t shake the desire to get out and see new places in the world. Though wandering through NYC never really gets old, I decided to switch things up and head out to one of the most esteemed art establishments in the great state of New York.

With my camera, some cash, and my go-to adventure gal in tow (hey, The Artfulist!), I boarded a train at Grand Central and headed to Dia:Beacon.

In just 90 minutes, I went from a city full of skyscrapers and roughly 8.5 million residents to a quaint town (population 14,389) full of winding hills and lush mountains in the distance. Beacon offered a refreshing change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city, leaving me feeling refreshed and inspired.

Side note: when purchasing train tickets, be sure to select the Dia:Beacon package deal which includes a round-trip ticket plus museum entry for $32 with a student ID (which nobody asked to see). A steal!

Dia:Beacon is essentially an instagrammers paradise without the overcrowded feeling most NYC galleries give off. Its high ceilings and extensive amount of square footage made me feel like I could breathe, like really breathe– a concept practically unheard of in the city.

Around every corner, a new installation was waiting– from neon lights that beg for a photo to natural elements like glass and dirt masterfully placed in piles that you can walk within inches from.

dia: beacon day trip
dia: beacon day trip
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon day trip
dia: beacon
dia: beacon
dia: beacon

After checking out the eerie basement floor, we decided to rest our feet on the huge piles of foam covered with sheets (not really sure what else to call it, but definitely a cozy communal space!), then we made our way outside for a walk through the garden.

Post museum, a stroll down Main Street was a no-brainer. The summer heat made a compelling case for us to duck into every vintage and antique shop we could find. Upon recommendation from a local, we eventually landed at an adorable cheese and charcuterie shop called Beacon Pantry for lunch (the goat cheese salad is to die for!).

dia: beacon
dia: beacon

For anyone who feels like they don’t have time for exploration, I promise you that day trips like these are beyond seamless. Spending the day in Beacon was like hitting the reset button, and it definitely satisfied my craving for a little adventure. If you’re new to the 9-5 work grind like me, trust me when I say that no matter how burned out you feel, you should always find time feed your soul.

Jenna Signature

 

Dia:Beacon Outfit Inspiration:

Union Square Farmer’s Market with ThePeachBox

Union Square Farmer’s Market with ThePeachBox

One of my favorite things about living in the city is waking up on a Saturday morning with no plans, and heading out to see what I stumble upon. One spot I always find myself gravitating towards is the Union Square Farmer’s Market, and this past weekend I saw it as the perfect excuse to buy myself some flowers and show off my new bracelets from ThePeachBox.

nyc farmers market

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for peony season, and I’m equally obsessed with dreamy white dresses and tanks for summer. There’s just something so light and airy about a white sundress with a few gold accessories. In this post, I’m wearing my two favorite pieces from ThePeachBox collection– the Roman Empress Bangle and the Buckle Bangle, which I’ve been pairing together with a two-toned watch on my opposite arm. I always have a tough time with bracelets because my wrists are so tiny, but these are specially shaped for smaller wrists. Plus, they’re 18K gold-plated (which is pretty incredible considering how affordable they are) and they’re extremely easy to take on and off.

farmers market nyc

I’m always amazed at how fresh and reasonably priced the produce is at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. These strawberries were $5, or two for $8, which is pretty great considering how expensive berries are in the city. Plus, you can’t beat the novelty of buying them at such a charming little spot that’s been around for over 10 years.

farmers market strawberries

union square farmers market

Aside from fruits and vegetables, there’s no shortage of baked goods and sweet treats from homemade banana bread to classic oatmeal cookies. My favorite vendors, of course, are those selling bunches of freshly cut flowers and plants like these mini succulents. Although the crowds of people who flood the square each week are a clear indication that I’m in New York City, the market still gives off a locals-only, small town vibe that reminds me of the little markets I used to frequent back in Florida.

succulents

I’ve linked some of my favorite white dresses and other accessories below. Visit the ThePeachBox to find the bracelets featured in this post, and be sure to us my code, “ricejenna” for 15% off through July.

Jenna Signature