Blizzards Call For Travel Ideas

Getaways, new york city

Stella has me thinking. Blizzard Stella, that is! Unbelievable that in less than a week Spring would officially start (mark your calendars March 20th). Where did the time go? More so, I wonder what we can expect from Mother Nature this spring… another snow storm? Let me not give her any ideas.

If you are a travel addict like I am (there is no cure- not that I’m looking for one). Here are some destinations that you need to visit. Remember there are never enough stamps on your passport! Psst, some of these destinations might not even require a passport just don’t forget your IDs. 

Miami
Downtown_Miami_Panorama_from_the_Rusty_Pelican_photo_D_Ramey_Logan.jpgHop on a plane and poof in just three hours you will be soaking in the rays!

Ocean_Drive_(Miami_Beach)_01.jpg

Speaking of Miami have you thought about Cubahavana-1613263_960_720.jpgIt’s worth the extra hassle and visa fees. Looking to expand your knowledge check out this Buzzfeed article with an intro to your next flight.

cuba-1202440_960_720.jpgSo maybe just maybe you love the cold weather. Here is some inspiration for you too.

Iceland 16932405087_6d2cdee1b0_b.jpgVisit the Blue Lagoon. Don’t forget you have to shower first before entering. Here you can find best of both worlds- cold and surprisingly warm. 16530600699_eb9a432f5c_b.jpgTalking about worlds. Look at those Aurora lights- amazing! Make sure to triple check the weather reports. If you’re lucky you can catch them.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming 

Looking for the ultimate winter wonderland head on to Jackson Hole during the winter. Slashin_(13229908703).jpg

Imagine yourself skiing, snowmobiling and taking in the mesmerizing views.24509859173_f9122de113_b.jpg

There you go- now you have some options for your next vacation. Or you can just spin a globe and randomly point where to go next.

Winter Dates in NYC

new york city

Ahh the Holidays are approaching us so quickly. Have you finished your Christmas / Hanukkah shopping? Remember this year both are on December 25th. Ok, don’t stress out… breathe in and out not too much now- baby it’s cold outside. Talking about cold welcome to cuffing season. Everyone should be familiar with this term, but if you are not Urban dictionary describes it as,

“During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

So just in case you found your personal heater this season. Here are some of the best places to hang out in NYC. Don’t worry you’ll be cozy and maybe even with a drink in your hand.

Holidays Vibes

If you’re looking for a fun and an omg it feels like the Holidays type of place then visit Rolf’s Bar and Restaurant. I cannot testify about the food because I’m a vegetarian and their menu was mainly for meat eaters. The drinks were a pricer, but its a fun place to take in the scenery. Talk about Christmas decorations everywhere! My recommendation pop in for some drinks unless you’re into the German cuisine. Enjoy your time there it is crowded and tourists are lining up- so get there early!

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 1.14.10 PM.pngTalk about the view! Don’t worry the ornaments wouldn’t fall on you.

Rooftops

Bar 54 the Highest Rooftop in NYC! Get ready to make your reservations, because if you don’t you can’t enter (or so I was told). This rooftop is quite cozy and intimate. Although, I haven’t been yet my girlfriends have told me that it is has amazing views of midtown Manhattan. The best part is that during the winter months they have these bubble like igloos that allow you to stay outside while seeping on your drink.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.29.51 PM.pngImage courtesy of Travel + Leisure

230 Fifth probably one of my favorite rooftops in town. This place has red robes for you to keep warm and cozy. If you’re looking to take in the views then this is the place to be at. 230 Fifth offers good food and excellent drinks. The Winter Igloos are the main attraction during this season. The igloos keep you toasty and creates an ambiance that both you and your boo would like.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.41.05 PM.png Image featured in Time Out NY

 

Penthouse

Check this one from your list. Skip out on the cold overrated ski resorts and head to Peak at Dream Midtown also known as PHD Terrace. It recently received a winter makeover that portrays a cozy cabin vibe complete with fur blankets and reindeer throw pillows. It’s the perfect way to stay warm and snuggle with your favorite person. Absolutely, a perfect place to add on after your dinner.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 1.05.48 PM.png Image featured in Time Out NY

 

5 Reasons why (Not) to visit San Francisco 

Getaways

Please don’t visit San Francisco you don’t want to see this!

View of the Golden Gate Bridge. Can you spot Karl?

1. San Francisco is the absolute worst.. said no one ever. San Francisco is amazing it’s simply beautiful with it’s Victorian houses and clean streets. Yes, New Yorkers you heard right clean streets! San Francisco is very involved in being eco-friendly. Unlike New York City bags cost ten cents no biggie- it’s a nice way of making you aware of all those unwanted bags. The people are friendly and down to earth. I even learned some phrases such as dude, bummer, and catch my drift. It is a safe city to stroll around with common sense just like in any other big city. One of my lyft drivers told me to avoids City Hall at night, because it becomes into a “The Walking Dead scene” so just keep that in mind. Yes, you’ll see a myriad of homeless people but they are harmless just ignore them. If you feel threatened just call the police (911). I felt completely safe throughout my week stay in San Francisco. Hence I’m here offering my travel tips to you guys.

The famous Painted Ladies 

2. It has nothing to offer. During my week there all I had was places to see and people to meet. The best way to get around was definitely using Lyft and the City Sightseeing Tour bus (the best tour is offered by BB Hayes). Especially if it’s your first time in town. Using the Bart was fairly easy just make sure to insert you’re money first and check you’re stop on the vending machines. Insider tip: when using the Bart your fee depends on what stop you get off. Lyft is available in all of San Francisco and if you’re a first time user you get a sweet deal by getting $10 off your first five rides. But don’t be stopped by those transportation options. There is also the MUNI San Francisco’s bus system, they also have ferries (which I heard are one of the best ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge), taxi service, city bikes, trollies, and cable cars. Or you can just walk those steep hills to get a good work out. Can you feel those buns of steel forming?

img_5354San Francisco’s City Hall  

3. The weather. Enough said the weather has a mind of its own. When Karl( San Francisco’s fog) happens to stroll by it gets much cooler around 50- 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So be sure to bring a sweater, hoodie, scarf, jacket and/ or a windbreaker. I only brought a cardigan and sweater. However, I ended up buying another hoodie because it gets pretty cool in the mornings and nights. I’ve read that this city has Indian Summers so maybe you can rock those sundresses and shorts in September through November. But then again I saw many tourists walking around in both. My tip is to use layers that will definitely save you.

Sausalito’s #1 ice cream spot

4. The food is alright. Lies the food was exquisite. If you are in San Francisco you have to explore the food scene especially the Asian cuisines. I had a blast eating Thai and Chinese food. And if you’re a vegetarian like me you’ll find an array of places to eat at. My favorite Thai place was House of Thai 2 which is relatively close to the Painted Ladies. Check out the best ice cream in Sausalito I wish I had one right now.

The 16th Tiled Stairs 

5. There is only touristy things to do. Yes the Fisherman’s Wharf is fun and all. But here are some cool spots to visit as well. Such as the Golden Gate Park (which is bigger than Central Park) this park is open to the public and contains traditional a Japanese Tea Garden, Bison Paddock (where Bisons chill out man), and the park is right across from Ocean Beach. If you want a unique experience why not visit Japantown it was definitely one of my favorite parts of town. In Japantown you’ll find Dragon’s Breathe a fruity pebbled treat with a smoke effect. But if you’re not in the mood of trying nitrogen fruity balls then check out the shopping scene. You’ll be sure to find something for everyone here from cultural artifacts to food and Sailor Moon makeup kits. Don’t forget to visit places like Cupid’s Arrow for all you lovebirds and newly weds this is the perfect photo opportunity. Or why not get you’re workout mode and walk up Twins Peak, 16th Avenue Tiled Stairs, and Land’s End Trail by Ocean Beach. Don’t forget to take a day trip to Muir Woods and Sausalito, I highly recommend it.

Japantown 

Let’s just say you’ll have too many reasons of why you should visit this lovely city. San Francisco offers the best of both worlds the city life and a more calm way of living. There is no city like this one with all it’s marvelous steep hills and cool folks. Every part of San Francisco is beaming with pride of its uniqueness. So what are you waiting for dude go check out San Francisco! And if you’re in a double decker bus don’t touch those cables above you’re head like one of my tour guides’ said “you’ll have a bummer day dude”.

Look at that view from the Grand View Park 

New York City’s Carousels in One Day

Mini Adventures

When you think about carousels what comes to mind? In most cases you think of the warm air lightly blowing your hair while listening to the circus music in the background. Well thankfully there are plenty of of carousels in New York City to chose from. Or if you’re up to it you can visit all of them. I have curated a list of the best ones in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Check it out and don’t forget to share your experiences below.

Manhattan

  • SeaGlass Carousel


Who said fish can’t party? This carousel is truly unique and amazing. It always ceases to mesmerize me especially when the sun goes down. Because that’s when the fish are lighten up to create a perfect swirl of lights while you spin around. Get your smartphones, gopros, or any camera devices you fancy prepared to take Instagrammable pics…#perfection. Best of all it is located in Battery Park and on your way to the Statue of Liberty ferries.

Open 7 days a week, Sunday-Thursday 10AM to 6PM, Friday-Saturday 10AM-8PM, weather permitting. For more details visit their website. Rides are only $5 per ride for anyone other than 12 months. Sorry, no pets please.

  • Central Park Carousel

So you’re strolling through Central Park and thought you’ve seen it all. Guess again because Central Park is home to its very own carousel. Boom, now you have another activity to look forward to besides having a picnic in Sheep Meadows. It is conveniently located in the middle of the park at 65th street.

P.S: remember to bring cash along its only $3 per ride. Open daily from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. For more details visit their website.

  • Le Carrousel in Bryant Park

You cannot visit New York City and not stop by Le Carrousel in Bryant Park. Okay, so you visited the Central Park Carousel and need something to keep you going. Then try Le Carrousel it makes you feel like you were teleported to another time and place (bonjour France).

If you loved it you can even throw your birthday party here. Rides go for $3 and parents helping their young ones are not charged. For more details visit their page.

  • Carousel at Pier 62


This hidden gem is located in the Hudson River Park. Now this is one that not even I knew about and I’m a New Yorker. I guess some things just slip by but this carousel offers one of the best views of the Hudson River and New Jersey.

So if you are in the Chelsea area then stop by west 22nd street and enjoy the ride and the view. Need more insight stop by their website.

Brooklyn

  • Jane’s Carousel


Hands down my favorite carousel of all time! If you are looking for a traditional carousel then this one’s for you. In Brooklyn’s very own Dumbo there is a magical place called Jane’s carousel where you can hop on for $2 per ride. An added bonus is the spectacular view you get from this area. You can also add visiting the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park in your itinerary. Don’t forget to stop by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The carousel is open Thursdays to Sundays from 11AM to 6PM, but soon their summer hours will be in session. For more information visit their website.

  • Prospect Park Carousel

Most carousels only have horses but this one has more exotic creatures. How does riding a lion, giraffe, or dragon sound like? If you want a carousel that bring an exotic feeling to it then stop by Prospect Park. Best of all if you are riding on an empty stomach then make your way to the Pony Express Snack Bar.

Rides are $2 and in August children under 12 years old ride for  free every Thursday. The carousel is open Thursday through Sunday from 12:00pm until 5:00 pm. For more information visit their website.

                     Bueno, que lo disfrutes mucho! (Well, I hope you’ll enjoy it a lot).

 

Day Tripping: Boston 

Day Trips

I spent days debating if I should book a trip to the West Coast or visit Boston. This was all conducted in the very last minute and of course I was looking for budget friendly options. After taking into consideration hotel prices, airfare, and other factors I decided Boston was the best option.

  

“Attention passengers our next stop will be Boston” said our Bolt Bus driver. He was such a jolly man especially for a cold Thursday morning. He even made me feel good considering that I detest waking up early (I’m more of a night owl). However, when it comes to traveling I make sacrifices and Thursday’s sacrifice was waking up at 6am (or what I like to call ungodly hours). The advantage of bus traveling is that you get to sleep in and that’s exactly what I did for half of the time. The rest of the four hour ride was divided between making sure my brother was comfortable (my travel buddy), checking my iPhone, and reading my new favorite book Girls Who Travel. I have to say the driver was so nice that we made a pit stop and I took advantage of this by buying some food.

Upon arriving in Boston, I thought all the hours spent researching about budget friendly ways to explore Boston- was well worth it. I was ready to go on an adventure and enjoy my day trip there. In terms of numbers I spent roughly around $165 for the two of us, that includes food and transportation: Bolt Bus and Old Town Trolly Tour. If you buy your Bolt Bus tickets in advance, you can probably score cheaper tickets.

My initial plan was to do a self guided walking tour, but the weather had other plans. So I purchased my Old Town Trolly Tour tickets when I arrived to the Boston Historic’s North End. I am not the best map user, but I managed and I assure you that you can too. It goes to say that I walked from the South Station all the way to the start of the Freedom Trail by Congress Street. Mind you, I didn’t want to walk it but the taxi drivers insisted it was only a few blocks away or as one of them said “three traffic lights down and make a left”. Darn, I really wanted to take a taxi and avoid the cold walk. But we are New Yorkers and being so we can handle anything. And so our adventure began and we paid $37 per person for the trolley that took us around Boston.

For a detailed map of the Old Town Trolley Tour, visit their website they have many tours ranging from hop on hop off tours to chocolate tours. We went with the hop on hop off tour which lasted about two hours without stopping at any destination. The tour guide was very friendly and provided an array of information. He even went on to mention that if we were to get Red Socks fever that he can provide exorcisms especially to Yankee fans. No, we didn’t catch Red Socks fever but I did snap some pictures from the trolley window like the one below.

Before we knew it is was time to return to South Station and we were headed back to our starting point. But before we left behind Congress Street I needed to snap some shots of this historical city. We also visited the Quincy Market which was filled with people probably keeping warm away from the cold. Quincy Market has numerous food options from lobster rolls to Starbucks. So if you are need of something sweet or filing visit the Quincy Market, trust me you will not be disappointed.

 

Overall, it was a marvelous day trip and plan on returning in the spring or summer. Our tour guide informed us that reenactments happen during those months. Plus, you can do so much more. By then the weather will also be pleasant and I can finally explore the city in depth. My plan for my next trip over is to explore Chinatown, Harvard, go on a Swan ride, and possibly take a Duck tour. If you are not familiar with a Duck tour its basically a tour that takes you into Charles River with a splash. So if you are headed up there during the warmer months be sure to check out the Swan rides, Duck tours, and other amazing events.

Nos vemos pronto (see you soon)…Gigi 

Care to Join?

Harlem, New York City

The weather is becoming unpleasantly colder in New York City. So I thought of visiting my favorite coffee shop in Harlem… {Drum roll please} of course The Monkey Cup. I can literally say I’ve been there for them since day 1 when they opened.

This time I was surprised with a beautifully decorated paper bag and a monkey on my cup!
Best of all now they offer reward cards for every time you stop by and grab your Monkey cup.  
  

So make your way to this local coffee shop when you’re nearby.

If you are wondering why I haven’t posted anything lately. It’s because of this cool blog that is called Auténtico Nueva York. So calling all Spanish speakers this blog is all about what to do and see during your stay in the Big Apple.

Until Next Time! 

Halloween Edition 

Harlem, New York City

Happy Halloween Ghosts, Ghouls, Vampires, and Zombies alike!

Here are some events just in case you haven’t thought of something spooky to do! Best of all there’s something for everyone. Be sure not to eat too much candy! A stomachache on a Sunday morning is not fun at all.

First off- Harlem Shake! Starting at 6:00PM, the team will celebrate all things spooky with food and drink specials, a costume contest and a “Thriller” flash mob! Since the holiday falls on a Saturday this year there’s added pressure to make the perfect plans, and you can’t go wrong by starting, ending, or simply spending your evening at Harlem’s favorite burger and milkshake joint.

Young and old alike can feast upon creepy culinary creations like Zombie Fingers (hot dog fingers “bandaged” in bacon wrapping); Bloody Eyeball Sangria (classic red sangria spiked with blood orange juice and eyeball gummies); and Graveyard Dirt and Witch shakes (crushed Oreos and gummy worms).

Even the undead don’t like to dine alone, and at this party, being social could win you more than just company. Share your costume on Instagram to be considered for the “Best Mask” contest, hosted by Miss Harlem Shake 2015, Amanda Mobley. Ten percent of food and drink sales will be donated towards Amanda’s charity, the Church of the Master Mentoring program.


WHEN
: Saturday, October 31st  6:00PM-11:00PM

WHERE: 100 W 124th St (124th and Lenox Ave)

WEBSITE: www.harlemshakenyc.com

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook: Harlem Shake

Twitter: @HarlemShakeNYC

Instagram: @HarlemShakeNYC

So you’ve got your weekend packed… No worries I have something for you’re pre celebration. On October 29th, Grill on the Hill is kicking off the weekend with their party. Best of all, they will have Ralph Serrano a highly talented body painter. Just in case you forgot your costume or didn’t buy one yet haha. So grab a friend and go to 1624 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10031 this Thursday.

Now something for the kiddos and the entire family! Sure, trick or treating is fun and yummy. But we also need a good story to give us goosebumps. For a spooktacular time visit the Sugar Hill Museum at 898 St Nicholas Avenue @ 155th Street, New York, NY 10032.

 

Get Ready to Vote, Harlem! 

Harlem, New York City

Are you ready to vote for the next Miss Harlem Shake?

Here’s what you need to know:

1. The votes end this week, so basically in a few hours. It’s never too late to vote! All you have to do is visit Harlem Shake at 100 west 124th street. Plus, it’s a great spot to catch up with friends this Friday.

2. The winner will be announced Septemeber 13th.

3. The winner will be part of the African American Day parade on Septemeber 21st.

Here are the candidates:

· Alison Mixon

Alison is a professional dancer and Juilliard graduate specializing in ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz and musical theatre who also teaches at Alvin Alley Dance Theatre. She is competing on behalf of the Children’s Aid Society which offers early childhood educational programming to kids in the Harlem community.

· Regine Gilbert

Regine is a UX Designer with a passion for accessibility, design and tech. She is a proud member of NY Cares and Teaches a Project Runway Apprenticeship at Citizen Schools. She is competing on behalf of Children’s Aid Society-Dunlevy Milbank Center on W118th, a comprehensive community facility that includes medical and dental services, mental health services, preventative information, family wellness, child care and more.

· Amanda Mobley

Amanda works as an interior designer, event producer and commercial print model. She is competing on behalf of the Church of the Master Mentoring Program.

· Francheska Rivera

Francheska is a Production Assistant and Freelancer. She is an aspiring photographer who enjoys yoga, biking, jogging and fashion. She is competing on behalf of Harlem Hospital (Center), a teaching hospital associated with Columbia that provides health care to economically disadvantaged communities and is one of the largest US training centers for minority and female physicians.

· Limore Dooley

Limore is a wellness education specialist who promotes well-being through nutrition, physical activity, hydration, sleep quality and relaxation. Blogs at http://www.limorekurtzdooley.com/. She is competing on behalf of Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit organization for poverty-stricken children and families living in Harlem that provides free support in the form of parenting workshops, pre-school programs, three public charter schools and child-oriented health programs.

· Kristyan Gilmore

Kristyan is an attorney who graduated from Howard University School of Law. She is competing on behalf of the Harlem Business Alliance, a group that works to reverse the void that resulted from years of disinvestment in Harlem.

Be sure to visit Harlem Shake for the best burgers and shakes in our beloved neighborhood.

Good luck to all the contestants!

 

 

Flash Back Friday 

Harlem, New York City

High Bridge Edition. This place is a must visit. So plan a trip over to the High Bridge. Fall is soon approaching and the view will be epic.

Directions: Enter the Highbridge Park at 172nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue and walk east to the High Bridge Water Tower Terrace staircase down to the bridge level. If entering from the Bronx side, enter at University Avenue and 170th Street in Highbridge, Bronx.