here are some of the things i’ve done, places i’ve been, areas i’ve walked around, to make the most of my time in new york. things that i believe make new york a truly special place to be. perhaps some of them will help cure your fomos when your weekends are slow, your rainy day boredoms seem unbearable, or you simply want something new to try out.

*go to a coffee shop and read for a few hours 
i could literally do this every day. it’s nice to get out of the apartment, read a bit and people watch the eclectic melting pot of new yorkers stream in throughout the afternoons. some of my favourite shops:

*pushcart cafe
-gramercy area, wood and stainless steel interior, great coffee, friendly staff, yummy treats, free wifi

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*the bean
multiple locations (i like the one on east 9th and 1st), free wifi, tons of mouth watering treats to accompany a good coffee, lots of seating, cool mix of customers


*OST cafe
-small interior but a good amount of seating, exposed brick, european feel, coffee AND alcohol served, free wifi, windows slide open when warm out, located in east village

*walk around shakespeare & co
-i personally love walking around book stores and trying to find the next good book to read. this is a new hobby as i’m no longer in school and able to read for pleasure, but it can be a great way to calm and relax yourself if stressed out. original store located in paris is very quaint and filled from floor to ceilings with an endless amount of books. new york store although more modern, still has a cozy feel and a lot of tables that showcase staff favorites and books of the month)


*walk through chelsea markets
-there’s always something going on in this market. whether you want to people watch and find a spot for lunch, walk through some of the stores and try samples of different goodies, or hit up a sample sale or pop up store, you’ll be sure to find something to do.

-i love the ronnybrook milk bar. partially because it’s quite healthy and i can get a great chicken salad:P if healthy chicken salads aren’t your thing, but can opt for a thick creamy organic milk shakes or lattes;)

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*wander through the east village

-i usually do this 3-4 times a week. whenever i have time off, i’ll stroll from 2nd ave to ave A, winding back and forth throughout the cross streets. there are so many good vintage shops, and don’t even get me started on the food and restaurant options!!!

*big gay ice cream shop
-holy fk…. this is probably the best ice cream you will ever have. ever! my boyfriend got the salty pimp, and i selfishly ate more than half of it. (to me i have the mind set that if i don’t order it and just eat a bit of someone elses, i’m being more healthy…) anyways the salty pimp is a cone where they put a generous amount of sea salt and caramel sauce in the cone, fill it with vanilla soft serve, coat that with more caramel and sea salt, then dunk it in a rich milk chocolate shell. when you take a bite, you get a mix of hardened chocolate, sweet caramel & vanilla mix, then juxtaposed by a salty after taste. urg can you tell i’m hungry…?

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*butter lane cupcakes
-conveniently located right next to the ice cream shop. interesting variety of flavours that you can mix up to your liking. they have banana, chocolate, and vanilla cakes which you can then pair with whichever icing you please. and they have icing shots; a small cup of the smooth buttery frosting itself. boom done. they also have baking classes next door which you can sign up to make your own delicious cuppies. the banana cake is truly amazing and the hazelnut icing is to die for.

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*sweet revenge
-this is the epitome of heaven on earth. cupcake and wine (or coffee) pairings. what more can you ask for??

-this is one of those “healthy raw organic vegan” spots, that caters to those seeking a nutritious option in the heart of the east village. they have ‘raviolis’, ‘egg benedicts’, and ‘nachos’ for example and are all healthier raw versions. when i went here i had the ravioli combo, which uses cashew nut cheese for some of the filling instead of real cheese as well as a thinly sliced radish for the pasta part. personally, i don’t feel 100% healthy eating there. there are still tons of calories in this nutty, oily version. that being said these ARE healthy fats, you just have to be aware that you can’t eat this all the time and expect to lose weight. it’s simply a great place to go once in a while for a nutritious treat as an alternate option for the real stuff most restaurants provide. quintessence is a small, cute little place tucked away on east 10th street and is a great place to hide away on a rainy afternoon. the interior is very calming and zen-like and makes you feel very relaxed!

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*get a massage or mani/pedi
-on groupon, you can find great deals for a lush afternoon of de-stressing, sometimes more than half off. these prices make the $100+ prices for mani/pedis in tokyo we would very rarely get seem all the more ridiculous. there are tons of different places to go, but for a great massage, i recently hit up MessLook in lower east side and had one of the best massages i’ve ever had. and it was only $39!!! score!

*go for a run in central park
– there’s nothing like hitting up central park on a nice sunny day for a run. it’s nice to go when the weather isn’t so hot, but nonetheless, a great spot to get away from the overwhelming downtown core where you are almost always surrounded by concrete. i often start at the very bottom and run up along the east side until i get to the reservoir. i’ll then run around the whole thing, which gives off an amazing breeze and view of the city. this route is generally around 5k, which for me is the perfect amount for a weekend workout. i’ll then slowly walk back to the bottom, people watching and enjoying the blooming flowers and whatnot.


*paint pottery in brooklyn
-rain or shine, this crafty shop in the heart of hipster town, williamsburg, is a great spot to unwind for a few hours and let your creative side take over. i came here with my mom for mothers day and we had a great time choosing colours and painting pottery. they have a huge selection of pre made pottery items to choose from, we opted for large coffee cup and saucers. it took a bit longer than expected as you have to paint on about three layers, and the patterns we had chosen were fairly complex, however it was awesome sitting there catching up and seeing the afternoon crowd of fellow moms and daughters, as well as friends and couples paint away.

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-gemma is  a popular spot in the bowery that has a slew of great options for your sunday late morning brunch. it’s always bumping, theres a great patio, and what i love is there is a delicious high protein healthy option that not only fills you up but tastes SO good. (i tend to have to check out menus before i go to places to make sure there’s a healthy option i can have. yes, i know i can be quite neurotic about some things..) the only thing that annoys me slightly is all your party members have to be present in order to sit at a table and they don’t take rezzos. (this isn’t only at gemma, this is generally a rule at most brunch spots in the city). but just make sure all your friends are there so you can grab a seat as soon as possible. the service was meh- not 100%, but its a really busy spot so it’s fun to go with a big group and enjoy the scene.


*parish hall
– i went here with my mom for mother’s day brunch. they take reservations, score! they’re also not far from baked in brooklyn, so you can enjoy your morning meal here and then spend the afternoon right down the street at the pottery joint. the interior was modern yet cheerful, decorated with wood and white colours that gave it sunny, bright feel. it was perfect for a happy feel good morning in brooklyn, a change up from the nonstop pace of manhattan brunching. i highly recommend the savory oatmeal. really really delicious and different from your traditional morning oats.


*over the top eating

*waverly inn
-i’ve been lucky enough to eat at a ton of great spots in ny. and there really are SO many options to find some great spots on all price levels. i went with some friends to waverly inn one wednesday for a late night chow on some of the best dishes i’ve had. tucked away on a quiet residential street in the west village, this formerly celebrity-filled hot spot is still popular, but not to the point that you have to reserve a spot months in advance. they have a back room for a more intimate setting with a fire place and vines that wrap up along the walls and make you feel like you’re eating in your own secret garden. unfortunately it was booked for a private event the night we went. we sat in a booth that felt just as private, away from the main buzz at the front of the restaurant. they are quite famous for their truffle mac and cheese. unfortunately, (yet probably best for my diet), truffles weren’t in season so we were unable to order this option. but at 100$ a bowl, my stomach, and wallet was much happier ordering a warm vegetable salad. great service here and a great spot to go with a loved one for a fancy, quiet night to yourselves. (no pictures allowed inside, but i did manage to sneak in a quick shot)


so as my mom and grandma always used to say, sleep when you’re dead! go out and explore your city! i’m privileged to live in new york where there is a TON to do. but try and make the most of every moment you have. i’ve heard this motto it goes something like ‘you only live once’… haha but seriously  you’ll be bound to find something cool to do in your off time. i love using urbanspoon to find great new restaurants. they have pictures of food, the menus, as well as user reviews. im starting to use yelp a bit more, they have restaurant as well as other stores with customer reviews, etc.

enjoy! xxx