Look up, down, everywhere there were details not to be missed in this eclectic shop.
It took almost 90 minutes in morning traffic from Connecticut so I sort of knew I might not make a healthy choice. Boy, was this a great place to start. The dulce de lece donut was worth every calorie. We chose a seat at the window. I’m not sure why some seats are designated as computer free tables, but we were okay with that. Clare mentioned later that we missed the secret garden in back. I guess maybe they sensed we were not locals…and therefore the garden remained a secret?
Next stop, Sweatshop on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg.
14 things to see in New York that involves six landmark buildings, two parks and four coffee shops–There’s so much to see in a city like New York, but if you have, say a couple of hours and want to see some cool stuff and have coffee on the way….here’s a few ideas.
I decided to start my morning at The City Bakery. It’s big, has great coffee or hot chocolate and amazing bakery items. You can almost always find a seat. Sidenote: Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant had an ice tea at the table in the window in Music and Lyrics. Once you’ve had your caffeine, if it’s a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday then head back over and check out the Union Square Greenmarket. From Union Square head back to Fifth Avenue.
The Flatiron Building is at 175 5th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets. While you’re in the area, you may want to check out Toby’s Estate Coffee at 169 5th Avenue. It’s a beautiful shop with a few seats. Straight through the coffee shop is a lovely flower shop and a mini Strand Book Store.
If you have a little extra time, you can literally stop and smell the roses. The flower markets in NYC are located between West 28th Street between Avenue of the Americas and 7th. You’ll know you are in the right place when all of a sudden the sidewalks are lined with plants and flowers. (Weather permitting of course). I like this article on the NYC Flower Markets.
This brings you to your next coffee stop at the Ace Hotel on West 29th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. A beautiful place to charge your phone or just to sit and relax in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. The restrooms are downstairs, on street level there are sofas and chairs that are quite comfortable if you are lucky enough to find one available. It’s cozy in the winter and the darkness of the lobby in the summer is also quite nice on a bright sunny day. Stumptown Coffee Roasters can be reached from inside the lobby or from 29th Street. There’s a few stools along the window. When you leave, take a right and head back over to Fifth Avenue and walk toward 30th Street.
The Empire State Building is at 350 5th Avenue at 33rd Street. Did you know the Empire State building is open 365 days a year from 8am until 2am? Last elevator up is at 1:15am. Are you thinking of the ending of Sleepless in Seattle? From here you could head over to Macy’s if only to ride on the original wooden escalators. Think Miracle on 34th Street. I had not been in years, but recently a friend reminded me of the wooden escalators and I’m glad she did!
Now head over to the New York Public Library walking through Bryant Park on your way. The NYPL has amazing exhibits and always free. The building itself is stunning and worth taking the stairs and walking the hallways. If you haven’t had enough to eat or drink, there’s an Amy’s Bread on the main level.
If it’s a beautiful day head back over to the Grace Building on 42nd Street across from Bryant Park. Bluestone Lane has a beauitful shop in the Grace Plaza Pavilion on West 43rd and Sixth Avenue. The outside plaza is a wonderful place to sit and relax before heading back to Grand Central Terminal.
Three hours, three or four cappuccinos and four or five landmark buildings. A good day in New York.
We’ve lived in California not once, but twice. It’s hard to decorate without having that California vibe because it’s a part of us. Although we don’t currently live coastal, we’ve decided it’s okay to use the things we have and love even if it’s a bit California coastal.
I’m always moving things around and decided it was time for a little change in the kitchen. The Enzo Mari Apple Pear print moved to the dining room making room for this piece from Barclay Butera in Newport Beach. It may be snowing outside today, but I’m always California dreaming… And today (minus the snowstorm) I feel like this space looks like it could be in California. White shiplap that we completed over the holidays and white floors makes it bright and sunny, even on a cloudy day.
We love our black and white wave and pier original photographs by surf photographer Tom Servais.
The Endless Summer poster moved from Connecticut to California and back to Connecticut again. One of our favorite movies to watch on a cold winter weekend is the the surf documentary, Endless Summer.
People ask us, “Do you think you’ll ever live in California again?” The answer is…no, maybe, probably, time will tell. So, what do you think about using coastal decor even if you don’t live at the beach?
Where do you go if you really really need a little dose of Springtime in New York during the month of February? The Conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx, of course. My husband and I met in Phoenix so I think the cacti and succulent garden in the Conservatory is my favorite part. For this post J. McLaughlin supplied all the clothing and the tote. I love the Rale Cashmere Poncho from J. McLaughlin, I’ll be wearing this all spring and on cool evenings at the beach this summer. They come in every color. The black pants are the Felicity pant which are great for everyday and wonderful for travel. The perfect pant to get you from Winter to Spring. The Everywhere Tote is so well made and strong enough to carry my laptop and camera and everything else I need without looking overpacked.
It’s pretty quiet this time of year, but still a lovely place to visit. The restaurants and the beautiful gift shop are open. I can’t wait for May when this walkway is lined with peonies! Thank you J. McLaughlin for the beautiful clothes!
I’ve teamed up with Minted for a savory little Valentine gift from the kitchen. My sister actually gave me the idea to make pickled red onions. It’s the ultimate topping for almost anything from burgers to tacos or a sandwich. We used to go to a wonderful French restaurant on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica when we lived in Southern California. What I remember most (besides sitting and enjoying a long lunch on the patio in February) is that they served pickled onions and carrots along side a delicious sandwich. And since they are a beautiful pink, I thought this would make the perfect little gift for my friends for Valentine’s day. To package them up, I used jars that I always save for projects like this and then painted the lids with chalkboard paint. I ordered Minted Skinnywrap Address Labels and customized them to use just for this purpose. I’m thrilled with the results and they make a jar of picked red onions look like a happy little gift.
Peel the onions outer layers off and slice into thin rings. Or use a mandolin and leave the onion whole after peeling the outer layers off and slice thin rings. If using a mandolin, be super careful. I use a knife glove just to be safe.
In a large stockpot, add the vinegar, sugar, salt and spices and bring to a boil. Once it has reached boiling, add the onions and simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, use tongs to transfer the onions to jars. A few of the allspice berries and cloves will get mixed in with the onions. Strain the remaining liquid and then add to each jar. Refrigerate and use within a few weeks.
Paint your walls black – I’m seeing a lot of very dark walls all over Pinterest and it seems it’s a trend. I’ve been been embracing it for a while. I must admit, I started in our previous home with just a partial wall painted black in our dining room. For years everyone has been talking me out of painting walls black. Paint is the answer to every design dilemma. If you don’t like something, paint it white, (our stone fireplace), or if you’re feeling bold, go dark, like we did.
Our current home was built in 1900 and the garage was added probably during the 1970’s. It’s actually in our backyard which means it needs to look good. I had all kinds of big ideas which involved new barn like vertical siding, a new door and adding a window so it would look more like a guest house than a garage. But then one weekend we said, “What if we just painted it black?” So an afternoon and $100 in paint and it looks so much better. It even improves our view from the kitchen.
Painting a chalkboard wall is the easiest thing you can do to add a little black paint. If you don’t want an entire wall, you could paint an end cabinet or a narrow wall. It’s great for lists and birthday messages. When I get tired of looking at the messy eraser marks, I just give it a quick fresh coat of chalkboard paint and we start all over again.
We used Benjamin Moore Graphite in the master bedroom, our son’s room and a tiny powder bathroom. The walls, moulding and doors are all painted in graphite. Our black and white photographs by Surf photographer Tom Servais have never looked better. In California, we had them on white walls, but they look so much more dramatic on black.
Sue De Chiara’s blog, The Zhush was one of the very first I ever read back when I didn’t even know what a blog was. At the time, Sue and her family resided in Westchester County just over the boarder of Connecticut and we were living in Dana Point, California renovating a beach house. During endless on line searches I somehow came across Sue’s blog, The Zhush. I loved Sue’s writing, her style and of course her attention to detail. I was surprised when she asked if I would like to be featured in her “Blogger Home Series.” I’m in good (like really good) company with other bloggers that I’ve “known” from the beginning of blogs, Tina, from The Enchanted Home and Elizabeth from Pretty Pink Tulips. Sue and I and now live in the same small Connecticut town and only met recently in real life at a book signing hosted by Elizabeth for Eddie Ross’s new book Modern Mix. It really is a small world! Thanks Sue, for featuring our little house on The Zhush today. You can see it right here.
My daughter and I are big fans of Bluestone Coffee, known for their recognizable blue to-go cups that you see on the streets whenever you are within several blocks of one of their outposts. However it was only recently that we discovered their cafe on New York’s Upper East Side. It’s located across Fifth Avenue at the entrance to the reservoir at Central Park and also adjacent to the newly opened Cooper Hewitt Museum at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue. It is the most beautiful place I can think of to enjoy a cup of coffee. The cafe is within the Church of the Heavenly Rest. Seriously, it’s almost a religious experience just to sit and enjoy your coffee within the walls of this lovely cafe. It was freezing the day we went, but they have lots of outdoor seating for warmer days. You will almost want to enjoy one cup within the cafe to take in all the loveliness of the space and then maybe a cup or two outdoors where you can watch the cars and people go by on Fifth Avenue.
They have a large communal table in the middle and alcoves with cozy booths on one side and a bar with stools on the other side. And as you can see above, lots of outlets to charge up. Service was friendly if not impeccable.
I love cafes that have menus with things like toast. Who doesn’t love a nutty bread with a smear of butter, ricotta and little honey? We actually split an order with our chai and cappuccino. Next time you want to escape the city for an amazing cup of coffee and bite to eat, try Bluestone Lane’s upper East Side Cafe.
When it looks like this outside your door, you make Dutch Baby pancakes, obviously! My snow days as a mom with kids at home are numbered. I figure I have at least a few more with a junior in high school and one away at college. This is one tradition I’m happy to keep….for as long as possible. It takes only 20 minutes and most likely you have everything you need.
Dutch Baby Pancakes(serves one teenage boy)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for serving
Melt one tablespoon butter in a heavy cast iron skillet in a 375º oven for 10 minutes. While that’s happening, mix together about 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons sugar. Add an additional 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and whisk together until everything is combined and the batter is smooth and frothy. You can prepare this in a blender or food processor and mix for about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven while it’s rising to check. Serve with a light heavy dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!
Our version of Shiplap Wall (DIY) in our c. 1900 home. When we purchased it 3 years ago we waited almost a year to remodel the kitchen. This little corner of the kitchen was the only part that we felt just wasn’t quite “done.” When we purchased the home there was a large built in desk where the table sits now. I had it removed before even seeing the house. I always need a place for our Saarinen table. I think it has been in six or seven homes since we bought it. The rest of the kitchen has white subway tile, chalkboard paint, original brick painted white and cabinets. This little corner had boring walls above the built-in bench. After seeing shiplap everywhere, we decided we needed to give it a try. I showed my husband the post from Jen at City Farmhouse and Studio McGee’s Guide to Shiplap Walls for inspiration. The project took just two days over the holiday break.
Measure the space to determine the number of linear feet of wood or MDF boards
We prefer natural wood, so we selected a high quality pine that was already primed. If you want to save money, using MDF would cut your material expenses in half. Since our space was small, we went with natural wood (pine).
We have a table saw, but you could have your builder’s store cut the wood to your specific lengths required. However our home was built in 1900 so from top to bottom the length of boards varied by almost an inch from top to bottom. Using primed wood or MDF makes painting a lot easier because you do not have to paint inside the nickel or double nickel gap.
To get started we found and marked the wood beams behind the drywall to know where to secure the wood to the wall.
We started at the top so that the odd size board is at the bottom and mostly out of sight.
If you don’t have a table saw, you’ll need to have them rip the last board to the proper width of the space at the bottom.
We used 2.5″ screws to secure the boards. We pre-drilled a hole the size of the head so that it would be recessed inside the board. Then we came back and filled each screw hole with painter’s spackle. After it dried, we sanded it smooth and flush with the board disappearing once you paint over it.
To space each board we placed 4 to 5 nickels across the board and pushed the board up flush against the nickels leaving a “nickel gap” and then secured it. Once all the boards were secured, we used a caulking gun with a tube of painters caulk and filled all the rough edges around the top and sides being careful not to let the caulk spread into the ‘nickel gaps.”
We used a jigsaw to cut around the light switch and light socket. Any imperfections will be hidden behind the covers.
Since the wood was primed, we painted two coats using a brush. We did not use a roller because it would have been harder to avoid filling in the “nickel gap” with paint.
The entire project took a weekend including a couple of trips for supplies.
Here’s a before and after of the same space today and from the real estate listing sheet.