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

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

Flatiron Feels

Flatiron Feels

My first encounter with the Flatiron building was a brief stint during one of my summer visits in college. It stuck out at me, warranted a photo or two, and then I was on my way, not giving it another thought until instagramming it that evening and soon after letting it fade from my memory until my next NYC trip.

Today, this building means so much more to me than I could’ve imagined. Not because of its beauty, obscure shape or notoriety,  but because it symbolizes a new chapter in my life– one full of every emotion imaginable.

I moved to the city just one day prior to starting my first full time job, and barely got to see the light of day after moving into my apartment. The next morning, I woke excited– anxious, really. I mapped out my walk to work with plenty of time to account for getting lost, and finally spotted the Flatiron building, from which my office is only a few short steps away. I remember looking up at it with the most ambivalent feeling. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. It was the most alive I’d felt in a while.

Since that day, I’ve watched this building take on a new persona with every season. From the colorful leaves that whip around its base during the fall; to the stormy winter days that offer a sublime grey backdrop; and now perhaps my favorite of all, the blue skies and budding flowers that cascade around its triangular body, creating a new image with each step.

Flatiron is like a friend that I don’t always have to acknowledge to know it’s there. It’s a familiar face that greets me on my way to and from work, and while some days I hardly notice it, on others, I look up at it in awe. It reminds me of why I came to the city, offering up nostalgia and curiosity all in one. It reminds me that I’m here– in New York City– living out my dreams.

Flatiron building summer

Summer

Flatiron building fall

Fall

Flatiron building winter

Winter

Flatiron building spring

Spring

 

Jenna Signature

The Blonde is Back: My Decision to Move to NYC

The Blonde is Back: My Decision to Move to NYC

If you were to ask me a year ago if I believed in fate, I probably would’ve said no. Yet, here I am declaring the ultimate cliché: I officially believe in fate.

You may have noticed that I took a hiatus from blogging. I really didn’t intend to take this long of a break from posting, but a lot has changed in the past six months. If you didn’t already know, I moved to New York City!

I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with a post explaining how I came to this decision (already cringing a little), but there are going to be some big changes over here on BWT and I really feel like I’d be cheating myself if I didn’t put it all out there.

So back around the time I last posted, I was planning on moving to St. Petersburg to live with my long-term boyfriend and start my first full-time job in a matter of just weeks. Long story short, we ended up breaking up. After a couple days of self-pity (hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do), I came to a realization:

My future had completely opened up.

I had always dreamt of moving out of state after graduation. Actually, staying in Florida was always my last resort. But then, love came along and as it often does, it blinded me. Like in any relationship, I made sacrifices. I was willing to put my dreams on the back burner for the sake of being together. I decided to apply for jobs in Florida and look for apartments with the person I thought I couldn’t live without. It’s true: I’m a sucker for love.

The problem was, I was ignoring someone. I was tuning out the voice inside my head.

So here’s where fate steps in… I’d been putting off my job search for months. I was traveling non-stop, which I obviously don’t regret one bit, but I was also making excuses for myself. I had very little motivation to apply for jobs, which sounds typical, but it’s really unlike me. Throughout college, I’ve always had a job or internship. I’ve always been serious about my career, and all of a sudden, I was terrified.

I knew why I was scared. I was afraid of looking back and regretting that I never moved to the big city. I was worried that I’d feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. This was a pivotal time in my life that I would never get back.

So of course, my first instinct after finalizing the break-up was revisit my future. I always told myself that if I was single and it was completely up to me, I’d move to New York.

So here I was. Back at square one, with only me, myself, and I to consider.

To me, there were two options. I could stay home, get a job that may or may not excite me, and feel sorry for myself. Or, I could start a new chapter, and do something that would forever change my life. Obviously, I chose the latter.

Two days after my break-up, I actively searched for jobs. Unlike the past few months, it felt right. I could see myself in these positions feeling happy and fulfilled. Within a few short weeks, I secured a job and apartment in Manhattan.

Fast forward a few months and here I am. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. It hasn’t been, but I never expected it to be. New York keeps me on my toes every day, but that’s the best part. Each morning is a new adventure and a new opportunity to make magic happen.

For the past four months, I’ve really been focusing on my career and trying to find my groove in the city. I wasn’t sure when I was actually going to make this post happen, but working in PR with bloggers and influencers every day has given me some serious motivation.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to keep posting! I’m so excited to be back.

Jenna Signature