What a year it has been! I sold my apartment, got pregnant, moved into a new house, started teaching a new grade and best of all, gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl. Looking back on this year, it was challenging and life giving in so many ways. It seems that my yoga and mindfulness practice served me well and amidst all the chaos and change, I managed to stay calm (for the most part) and welcome this new chapter with open arms.
Here are a few photo highlights of the year!
We rang in 2019 in idyllic Scotland and celebrated NYE at Hogomany under Edinburgh Castle. We had a feeling this would be our last big trip before expanding our family, so we wanted it to be extra special. Probably the most memorable NYE. Check out my Scotland travel guides here and here.
In January, I celebrated my 35th birthday with a self-curated food tour around NYC that I’ll never forget!
In February we discovered we were pregnant and my very best friend had a baby girl!
March brought us to California under unfortunate circumstances, but reminded us about how precious life is and not to take any day on this earth for granted. We toured the Getty museum (highly recommend), tried a few new restaurants in Santa Monica and Phillip showed me around his old neighborhood in Westwood where I had some life-changing French Toast at Napa Valley Grille.
April was a life-giving month as we welcomed another beautiful niece into our lives and in May I started to share the news that we were having a baby girl. That was went it started to feel real!
In June I moved out of my apartment that I had been in for almost 8 years. It was a bittersweet time, but I was so thankful to have owned my own apartment and have that time to build a home to call my own!
We also spent a few days in East Hampton and it was just lovely. We stayed at the Huntting Inn which is a beautiful property that’s also home to The Palm restaurant where you can have the best shrimp cocktail ever! We hung out at Main Beach, ate at John Papa’s Cafe for breakfast and Bostwick’s Chowder House for lunch.
In July we went to Newport and scouted out some art for our new home and spent a beautiful day at Cliff Walk.
In August we moved into a new house and showed Molly around our new hood! We took a little babymoon to Miami, stayed at my favorite 1 hotel and had some of the most delicious Cuban food 3 days in a row!
In September I was showered with love by my family and friends. My mom and sister hosted a beautiful baby shower at Whaler’s in Bay Shore and I couldn’t have asked for more! It was beyond special and I will never forget how gorgeous everything looked as I walked into the room. It was truly breathtaking.
October proved to be the highlight of the year when our little girl, Faith Eileen was born. Best.Day.Ever!!!
November and December were full of sleepless nights and lots of snuggles and I wouldn’t have it any other way! We spent our first Christmas together as a family. Safe to say that 2019 has been good to us. God has been good to us.
No matter what you may be going through, be grateful for the present moment. Acknowledge what brought you to where you are and have faith that God has a plan that is beyond your wildest dreams. May 2020 be full of blessings for you.
As summer winds down and I prepare to go back to work in a few weeks, I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to spend a beautiful day in NYC. I’ve been wanting to check out the new Hudson Yards property and shops and I finally made it there this week.
I went with the intention of wandering around aimlessly, doing some window shopping and getting something yummy to eat. A date with myself where I could just peruse the stores, eat a leisurely lunch and explore this new attraction was the perfect day!
If you have the time to make it over this summer or even in the fall, I have a few recommendations for you.
I started the day off with a lovely manicure and meditation at Sundays Nail Studio. I discovered it online when searching for the best non-toxic nail salons in NYC. The salon is a dream! Carve out 40 minutes for a manicure and meditation combo. Pick your color from a variety of beautiful hues as you walk in the salon. You’ll be served freshly brewed tea as the perfect welcome to relax and enjoy.
A nail tech will set you up with your headphones and give you a variety of meditation options, such as grounding, relaxation, healing etc. Then you get to choose from four essential oil blends such as calming or clarity. She’ll put a dab on your wrist so you can inhale the essence anytime during your service.
Book in advance and if you go on a Sunday in August you’ll get a free meditation added to your service. A signature manicure will run you $25 with mediation for an extra $5. It’s a bit more pricey than a regular manicure, but well worth it for this extra special treat to know you’re getting the best quality nail care. Check out the menu and price list of all the services offered.
There is no shortage of places to shop at Hudson Yards. You have everyday shops such as H&M, Zara, Athleta and Aritzia, but there are some great specialty shops as well. One of my favorites was Forty Five Ten. This Dallas based company makes a presence at Hudson Yards with 3 separate stores. One sells vintage, another is home and art, and the third is middle and high-end clothing and accessories that carry brands like Staud, Mansur Gavriel and Jil Sander, just to name a few. This store has such a well-curated selection of luxury goods. Eye candy is how I’d like to describe it.
Vintage treasures like a 1960’s Versace box bag (I’m still dreaming about) and the eclectic art collection in their other stores will keep you ogling. This space is like visiting a museum. Check it out!
Of course, there is Neiman Marcus which never disappoints anyone besides your bank account, and is worth a visit if you want to splurge on something special for yourself. I especially enjoyed Level 5 which houses the shoe section (duh) and Cook and Merchants where you can take home delicacies such as chocolates, kitchen goods and even a box of make-at-home popovers! I was intrigued. And every Monday from August 5- 25, grab your girlfriend and indulge in a sweet deal with ½ bottle of Moet Champagne and 2 Gotham chocolates for $30 from 6-8 p.m. Thank me later!
Estiatorio Milos was the winner! Authentic, fresh and delicious Greek food with a sick view of the Vessel was a special treat. The food and ambiance did not disappoint. An added bonus: they are participating in restaurant week. Choose from a 2 or 3-course menu for $26 or $32. I opted for the 2-course and got the tomato and feta salad which was pure perfection and the arctic char. It was light, fresh and one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had this summer. I saved for dessert because I had my eye on something sweet prior to lunch.
Van Leeuwen is one of my favorite ice cream joints in the city. Whenever I’m in SoHo or The Upper West Side, I make a point to indulge at Van Leeuwen. So when I saw one at Hudson Yards, I couldn’t resist. With vegan and gluten free options, there is something for everyone! I tried a new flavor that I loved, Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle, neither vegan nor gluten free, but downright delicious. Strawberry is another one of my favorite flavors.
A Day Well Spent
I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and indulgent day at Hudson Yards. I didn’t make it up the Vessel, but I enjoyed the view and all that this new spot has to offer. I’m sure there will be so much more to see on my next visit. If you have any questions about Hudson Yards, send me a message or comment on this post and I’ll be sure to reply. I want you to enjoy it as much as I did. Until next time, check out more photos and Highlights on my Instagram Page.
I’ve realized that I really like reading blog posts that have a little bit of everything round up into one post, so I thought I’d do a little something of my own here on The Daily Croissant. Some of the blogs I follow that do it well are thefashionmagpie.com and thesimplyluxuriouslife.com !
This will be a variety of some of the things I’m into at the moment such as fashion and design inspo, recipes I’m trying, Amazon finds, books or blog posts I’m reading, skin/health care, new restaurants I’ve tried and of course any travel tips or destinations I’m currently eyeing.
Well here it goes: My first variety post!
I just discovered this new instagram account and I’m really digging her style. I’m moving in with the beau this spring and he is such a plant man so I know he will dig it too. I like the clean and airy vibe of this room:
I’m also eyeing this adorable tote from her collection
I have a slight obsession with outerwear. I bought the infamous Amazon coat for winter and LOVE it, but I’m moving onto spring things and I feel like this asos coat is a must have. It’s a classic at a great price point. Why haven’t I pulled the trigger?
I think there’s still a solid month of chilly weather in New York so I’d like to make this tortellini minestrone and I’m also going to try these fun and delicious looking overnight oats
I really appreciated this post from one of the newer-to-me blogs I’ve been reading. She talks about Marie Kondo fatigue and how we have to be very careful about the out with the old, in with the new philosophy of clearing out our space and I completely agree with her. Although we tend to get rid of what no longer sparks joy, we have to be careful about what we replace that with. My biggest takeaway is one that I’m bringing more and more into my life: Quality over Quantity
I know I’m really late to this party, but I just finished reading The Four Agreements and I have mixed reviews. First off, it’s a quick read- only 90 pages. Secondly, it’s a good reminder to focus on what you welcome into your life and how well you’re living authentically. With that said, it gets a tad redundant and it’s not for those of you who aren’t interested in making any real changes with how you live your truth. I’m happy I read it, but a lot of the principles were very straightforward. Nonetheless, a good reminder.
You can find some of my other reads here
I recently got a facial at Drew Patrick Medical spa as a special treat. My sister and I go every year between our birthdays instead of getting each other gifts. I needed some new products and here is what I got.
The Nourishing Vitamin Cream Moisturizer which is packed with vitamins and anti-aging properties. It is silky smooth and light yet super moisturizing. I have seen an improvement in my skin’s moisture already. You can shop it here.
Vitamin C & E Serum. This smells divine. It’s like a citrus party for your face! I’ve noticed the brightening qualities it has on red spots.
Finally, I got the gentle resurface peel that is a very light gel that you leave on for 5- 7 minutes and then rinse off 2x per week. I used this only once, but my skin felt detoxified and very soft the following morning.
The products are worth the price tag. If you ever find yourself on Long Island, book a treatment at Drew Patrick. The estheticians know their stuff and they personalize the facial to meet your skin’s needs. They explain everything they do and products they use throughout the facial and offer products that will benefit your skin. I highly recommend it.
So that’s the roundup for this week! Let me know what you think, if you’ve tried any of these or if you have any requests for other categories I can chime in on.
Until next time. I’ll see you on the blog!
Another trip; another travel guide!
My travels to Scotland were nothing short of amazing and I’m excited to share Part 2 with you: Edinburgh! Go check out Part 1, my Glasgow guide , if you haven’t yet.
At A Glance
Edinburgh has a different vibe than Glasgow. It is more lively and cosmopolitan from what I experienced. It may have been because Edinburgh is one of the top 10 places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Hogmanay was the highlight of this trip, so if you ever want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in an extra special way, consider Edinburgh for all the festivities! More on that later…
The Principal George Street was such a lovely hotel. Not only were the rooms beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean, but there’s also a great restaurant/bar and coffee shop right on the premises.
As you enter the Principal hotel, you are greeted by the quaint lobby with comfortable seating where you can relax with a cup of tea or sip on a glass of vino. It’s such an inviting space that I made it a point for some alone time to read and relax with a cup of chai from Burr and Co. which is connected to the lobby. Just order at the counter and a lovely Barista will bring your coffee right over to you.
The other highlight of this hotel was the Printing Press Bar and Kitchen. It’s a fun space to grab cocktails before dinner. Just one warning, many bars in Scotland don’t offer seating at the bar. You really just stand around the bar, or if you’re lucky enough you may find a hightop table or two that’s free.
Try the local beer. One of my favorites is the Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale.
Hands down my favorite meal of the trip was the Sunday Roast at Chop House in Leith. Leith is a small neighborhood about a 10 minute drive from the City Center in Edinburgh. You can get lots of different kinds of steak, burgers, and even fish, but you don’t want to go to Scotland without having a proper Sunday Roast. A local couple sitting at the table next to us gave us the tip to order extra gravy with our roast and this is a must. The gravy is made with the fat from the roast and it’s to die for. Order the olives and a glass of the Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Malbec. It is the perfect start to a perfect meal.
A little bit of a food education for you: Yorkshire Pudding aka a yorkie is not a pudding at all, but actually a popover made of baked unsweetened egg batter, typically eaten with roast beef. The one we had was fried in duck fat. WOAH!
The Gardener’s Cottage
If you want a special communal, yet intimate lunch, you must check out The Gardener’s Cottage. I could give you a review of one of the sweetest lunches we had during our trip, but Travel and Leisure does it better here.
If you visit during the holidays, you can’t miss the Christmas market that offers live music nightly, street food like crepes, German sausages and so much more. The mulled wine, or Glogg, is a must try if you love warm, spiced beverages.
See and Do
Edinburgh Castle. This is obviously a must see. But for my photog’s out there, you don’t necessarily have to go inside the castle to get great photos of it. There are great views from the Royal Mile and Princes street.
I found Edinburgh to be a very walkable city where you can stop and awe at the old architecture, various monuments and beautiful landscapes. Bring your comfy sneakers or walking boots as you’ll be trekking some hills and cobblestone roads along the way. Princes Street and George Street are the main drags, but I’ll give you a few that are off the beaten path below.
Victoria Street is known to be the most photographed street in Edinburgh because it is believed this was JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley! Take a stroll down cobblestoned Victoria street for cute shop windows, Harry Potter vibes and a good selection of bars and restaurants.
Rose Street runs parallel to Princes Street, but is much less commercial. There are some tea shops and restaurants down here. It was one of my favorite streets to snap photos in Edinburgh.
This was quintessential Scotland in my mind. It was everything I pictured a village in Scotland to be like when I dreamed of visiting.It’s just a short walk along the Dean River, but if you stray off the beaten path you can get a glimpse of some of the most expensive real estate in all of Edinburgh.
You know I couldn’t travel to Edinburgh without checking out the retail situation. Coming from New York, shopping here is obviously on a smaller scale, but I love the variety and quality of UK brands. You could also shop more common stores like Anthropologie, but here are a few of my unique finds when shopping in Edinburgh.
George Street Favorites
- Hobbs London. Wonderful for dresses, outerwear and classic pieces. I snagged this wool dress on sale and I am so happy with it. It’s great for work or play and it fits like a glove! (The color is more subtle in person)Wear it with a black turtleneck underneath and a pair of knee high black boots or black pumps and you’re good to go from office to drinks!
- Aspinal of London. Come here to treat yourself to a beautiful custom handbag.
- Pop in to the luxury department store, Harvey Nichols, to check out the beautiful designer items or maybe grab lunch at the Brasserie, cocktails at the Window Bar or dine al fresco on the beautiful terrace. Located in St. Andrew Square, this will only be the first stop amongst other high end designers like Burberry, Mulberry, Sandro and Holland Cooper. Enjoy!
When to Visit
As I mentioned in my preview, NYE is a fantastic time to visit so you can see Edinburgh in all its glory for Hogmanay! The weather was surprisingly mild. 40 degrees Fahrenheit was the average temperature, which was comfortable to walk around and tour the city.
Hogmanay is one of the top 10 destinations in the world to party for NYE. This includes a street party, a fireworks show and a VIP concert in the park. You can also do a torch walk on the Royal Mile on the day before New Years Eve to kick off the festivities! The city is bustling with tourists and locals ready to celebrate! But contrary to the craziness of NYE in NYC, it is definitely on a smaller scale, where you can comfortably get around and party without rubbing up on the person next to you!
Well that about does it for this travel guide. I had so much fun reliving my trip through this post and I hope you liked it too.
If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer all of your travel questions!
A hop over the pond for NYE? How could I say no? When it was decided that we’d be going to Scotland for the holiday, I was beyond excited. Here is the first of a two-part blog for our time in Scotland.
Part 1: Glasgow, one of the most magical cities I’ve ever been to.
There is a 6 hour nonstop flight from NY to Edinburgh. If you live north of the city, you could fly straight from Stewart International Airport and utilize long term parking for a very reasonable rate.
We opted to take an Uber from the Edinburgh airport to spend a night in Glasgow. You can take the train, but it takes longer and comes out to about the same price as two train tickets.
Glasgow is a very walkable city, but cabs and Ubers are readily available.
The Grand Central Hotel is a great choice for a centrally located stay. The room was cozy, the staff is accommodating and there are restaurants and bars right inside the hotel. Within an hour of arriving we were sipping champagne at Champagne Central bar, a chic hotel bar that serves up delicious cocktails and local beers. It’s a great place to pop in for a pre-dinner cocktail. You don’t miss the epic chandelier in the bar.
There’s the cutest tea room that I fell in love with and although we didn’t have tea there, I’d definitely love to go back for that one day. I’d also love to remodel a room in my future home after it.
Phillip made sure to do extensive research on the most important element of any trip: where we would eat! (Am I right?) Glasgow’s restaurant scene did not disappoint! Delicious dishes and divine decor were on the menu.
Although slightly jetlagged, one of my most vivid memories from the trip was our first lunch in Glasgow at The Ubiquitous Chip.
A lot of restaurants offered holiday or festive menus, a few choices for three courses at a set price. Warning: Mostly every nice restaurant you go to in Scotland will bring you the most delicious sourdough bread before your meal and as much as you will try to fight it, you won’t be able to resist. The butter is on another level. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Note: There are two areas of the restaurant, one is a brasserie which is upstairs (pictured below) and one is more fine dining which is downstairs. We wanted a more open, chill vibe so we went to the brasserie which was fantastic. I’ve read that the downstairs restaurant has a Michelin star if you’re into that though! Reserve in advance as it is popular even with the locals.
Try The Gannett for modern, seasonal Scottish restaurant offering a 3 or 5 course meal with a wine pairing. There is a vegetarian option here as well. Take your time to savor the meal. I didn’t take any pictures here because it was dimly lit and too romantic to ruin the moment with a photo. If the salted caramel fondant is available, get it for sure!
After dinner, hop over to the Kelvingrove Café right next store for great music and glamorous cocktails. The bar closes at 1 a.m. so be prepared for last call around 12.
Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery is also worth a try. It’s traditional Scottish fare in a really cozy atmosphere. Think old lady chic in the best possible way. Any restaurant with butter in the name is good by me!
See and Do
My #1 highlight from the trip was definitely our self-guided tour of the University of Glasgow. Just a short walk from the West End, don’t miss this beautiful campus.
We got extra lucky to catch the sun setting, giving us the best light for photos!
I actually felt like I was at Hogwart’s
Kelvingrove Art Museum
Explore the art and culture of Glasgow with a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Entrance is free, but there is a $10 suggested donation. There’s also a cafe inside if you need a coffee or sweet treat. There are a bunch of cool exhibits to check out too.
You can walk here from the University of Glasgow in about 12 minutes.
Don’t miss the West End where you’ll find cobblestone streets, cute shops, bars, restaurants and other charming Scottish things.
The Finnieston is an up and coming neighborhood with great shops, restaurants and The Hidden Lane. There are a bunch of independently owned shops selling handmade jewelry and unique gifts, craft and tea shops and more. Call before you go because a lot of places were closed when we went.
It was on the milder side when we went, but you can expect temps to be similar to New York winters. You can’t go wrong with layers and a good wool coat. Most restaurants are casual, so unless you’re going for a special occasion, you should be good with a nice pair of dark jeans.
Bring a pair of good walking shoes and flat boots for nights out on the town. Don’t forget the hat, gloves and scarf for winter travels.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Glasgow. If you’re planning a trip and you have more questions, feel free to reach out to me. You can leave a comment below or DM me here.
May you travel safely to the land of the Unicorn!
I turn 35 today. OMG!!! Truthfully, I’m totally embracing this halfway point between 30 and 40 and I’m feeling really great about what this year has in store for me.
This past year was one of looking deeper at myself. What makes me tick? What excites me? What no longer brings me joy? And most importantly, what brings me more FREEDOM?
Knowing Where You Came From to Get Where You’re Going
I acknowledge that part of my freedom is sheer privilege (which I will never take for granted), but the other half is what I’ve created through years of hard work and deep work on myself- an ongoing process of getting to know myself. When I look at my life and where I’ve been, it definitely wasn’t always travels and yoga and yummy food in my belly. It took commitment and overcoming some hardship to reach a place of freedom. It meant I had to shut out all the voices that told me no (mainly my own). It meant eating tuna fish sandwiches and Campbell’s soup (ain’t knocking the tomato rice!) for weeks on end throughout college. But mostly it took me believing in myself, trusting that I was enough and knowing that I could create the life I wanted to live.
Today I feel at peace with where I am. I have carved out a life that allows me to have the freedom to do what I love, travel the world, and be happy with the company I keep on a daily basis- myself included!
Leaps of Faith
I started out pretty safe, but in recent years I’ve started taking more risks and trusting where my path may lead. I’ve had surprises, successes and disappointments, but no regrets at all. Taking a long, hard look at what we truly want is crucial. Whether it’s a lifestyle, a job, a vacation or a feeling, we can plan and work toward it, but we may realize along the way that it wasn’t what we really wanted after all. The trials either push us to work harder or reveal to us that it wasn’t meant for us to begin with. I’ve learned to accept the impermanence of everything. If something doesn’t fill me up, I don’t force it. Freedom is knowing when something isn’t serving you anymore and letting it go.
Trust The Journey
Life isn’t perfect, nor do I want it to be. I still struggle, but I’ve learned to make peace with the struggles that have paved the way to where I am today. And as I enter a new phase that will bring lots of changes in my life, I’m facing it head on, and going with the ebb and flow of what will be. I’m trusting God and the Universe in all that this magical, yet very real, life has in store for me. So Big 3-5, I’m ready for you. Bring. It. On!
Here are some of my intentions for this next chapter:
Savor your alone time
It is so sacred and precious. Appreciate and indulge in the time spent with yourself and don’t go a whole week without dedicating at least one hour to you.
Read and Write More
There is so much to know and see and do. Get off of social media and study all the things you want to learn. Write at least one page a day; You have a lot to say!
Be more vulnerable
Growth comes from being who you really are, imperfections and all. Don’t hide yourself.
Be open to all the possibilities you’ve never imagined possible
Let things flow and you will be surprised at how well they will work out in the end
Become more financially intelligent
Invest wisely and spend less money on things
Invest in myself
Take classes, workshops, and online courses. Go to retreats and conferences knowing that you will gain so much!
Thanks for reading,
I’m typically not a cold weather destination traveler, but after being convinced by my other half to take a fun road trip adventure to Mont Tremblant, Quebec, I conceded. I’m happy to report that this snow covered winter village exceeded my expectations in every way! Not only is the landscape absolutely stunning to look at, but I experienced the true beauty of winter in all its glory. Between dog sledding, an outdoor scandinavian spa in subzero temperatures, and some of the most delicious food, this was a trip that will be in my memory forever.
Check out this video for a few Mont-Tremblant highlights. Keep scrolling below for the full guide on where to stay, what to do, and what to eat in Tremblant!
Mont Tremblant is just over a 7 hour drive from New York City. If you get tired by hour 5 or 6, make an overnight stop in Montreal, Quebec. With a great selection of lodging options, you’re sure to find something right downtown with plenty of great restaurants within walking distance. I had taken over driving during the last leg of the trip and to my surprise, Phillip booked us a night at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth (I think our recent binging of The Crown influenced that!) I was so excited to be back at one of my favorite hotel chains with my favorite le labo products! We stayed at the Fairmont, Sonoma on one of our first trips together and it was love at first night. Spoil yourself a bit and stay for the night!
Arriving just past 9 p.m. with hungry bellies and in need of a cocktail, the concierge recommended we try The Dominion Square Tavern. The jazz age ambience and food at this hotel bar was the perfect Canadian greeting. A wonderful wine list, goat cheese stuffed cornish hen served with fresh roasted vegetables, and a sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream was the warm comfort food we needed after a 6 hour drive. Don’t miss this place if you ever find yourself in downtown Montreal.
Grab something for the road
Before checking out of the Fairmont, check out Marché Artisans for a variety of delectable cheeses, a bakery, and a wide selection of French and Canadian delicacies. Their chocolate and maple syrup game is on point. I found myself admiring all the nooks and crannies of the market. There’s another corner of the hotel lobby to check out if you just want to chill and get some work done.
There are a few different areas within Tremblant, but the Tremblant Pedestrian Village is your best bet. It’s within walking distance to the all the restaurants, shops, and slopes. So when you’re enjoying an après ski vin chaud, you don’t have to worry about driving even just a little bit!
Tremblant isn’t just a ski destination. There is so much more to do! One of the highlights from the trip was dogsledding The Tremblant Activity Center set us up with the dogsledding.
Scandinave is the place to go if you’re looking for total relaxation. Massage, scandinavian baths, a relaxation room and even a cafe will transport you to complete bliss. Truth be told, this is what convinced me to go to Canada over the Caribbean!
Dogsledding was a super special experience. Despite it being the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced (it was -17 fahrenheit that day), I would do it again in a heartbeat. As you arrive to El Diable golf course which turns into a dogsledding destination in the winter, you are greeted by 60 beautiful huskies. They are so excited to see you and extremely friendly. You get a quick, but helpful lesson on how to ride the sled. If you’re in a double, one person drives while the other one sits back and enjoys the ride. You’ll be guided by a pack of 5 dogs.
The course is mostly flat with some small hills that are easier to navigate than you think. Once you reach the midway point in the woods, there’s a cute little tent set up where you can enjoy the warmth of a space heater and some hot chocolate. This was a much needed break to warm up before turning around to finish our tour. The guides are friendly and kind. Ours was so quirky and fun. She loved practicing her English with us and I was proud of myself for speaking a little bit of French with her.
One of the guides will take some professional photos along your dogsledding adventure. They charge $10 for 3 printed photos or you can buy a CD with all of the photos from the trip for $25. Only problem is, who uses disks anymore?!
Make sure you get the right gear as well as hand and foot warmers. We wore 3-4 layers. Get a base layer pant with heat tech such as Columbia midweight stretch baselayer tight. Check them out here and here. The second layer can be another pair of leggings or fleece pants, and the third layer is snowpants. Get the right socks such as Kodiak Heat Plus. I found these to be extra thick and warm. You need a diesel pair of gloves and goggles too. Don’t mess around. Check these out. Make sure the label says they are good for VERY COLD temps.
This is not sponsored by Columbia, btw. It just happened to be what I got because I’m not serious about cold weather sports and it was an affordable option for what I planned to do on this trip. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the cold, you may want to invest in a different brand, but I found these to be sufficient.
Scandinave is a unique spa experience. The spa is equipped with outdoor hot tubs of all different temperatures. It sounded like a really cool thing to do, but I was also pretty intimidated to be in the subzero temps in only a bathing suit. Verdict: totally worth every moment!
Book a a 50 minute massage in the morning when they first open, 9 a.m. Bring your own robes or they will charge you an extra $10 fee to rent one of theirs. After a super relaxing massage, you get access to all the baths on the premises, including the lake (if you’re crazy enough to jump in).
Picture it, you’re in a hot tub with a snow-covered hat and the steam coming off of the water into the cold air is blinding you. You can choose to go in the cold baths too, but, really? Some people did it. After all your muscles are relaxed, grab your robe and head into the steam room and sauna, followed by a cold water bucket. Ahhhhhhh.
There’s a relaxation room with magazines, couches, and lounge chairs. Grab a hot beverage, soup, or a cheese plate in the lobby cafe. I really have to make this trip a tradition. I’m already thinking about how I can squeeze another Scandinave spa day into this winter!
Eat and Drink
After being out in the cold,warm up at La Forge with a hot cocktail, such as a vin chaud (red wine with rum and spices, served with a cinnamon stick and orange slice) or hot shots! Grab a seat at the bar for spectacular views of the slopes. They have great poutine, French onion soup, and duck wings. Get the soup served in a bread bowl because, why not?
If you’re looking for something other than bar food, check out Le Q.G. Resto-Pub. For a mix of new American with a French twist, this small restaurant serves dishes such as carpaccio and tartares as well as a delicious catch of the day and of course, steak frites. The most inventive and aesthetically pleasing appetizer was the escargots served on a thin, crispy, croissant-like wafer.
Pizzateria had delicious personal pies good for two people to share. Get there early or wait until after the dinner rush because this place fills up quickly and I can understand why. I recommend the meat lovers pie.
Do not miss the AXE lounge bar at the Fairmont Tremblant. Bar bites can be enjoyed at their posh, yet relaxing bar. I’m not big on whiskey, but this drink garnished with espresso beans was fantastic.
MicroBrasserie la diable is a cool little stop off for craft beers and more bar food.
Café D’époque is the late night spot for dancing. The DJ plays great music and it’s a great way to work off all of that poutine and pizza!
Before you leave…
If you’re on your way out and just need that last fix of Poutine, definitely try Smoke’s poutinerie. They have many different varieties made to order. This was the winner of all the poutines we tried (and more than we care to admit!)
I hope this travel guide helps you curate your next winter escape. I would love to hear about all of your winter travels, cold or warm! Also, send me any questions you have as you plan your getaway. I love talking everything travel and would love to be of assistance in any way that I can. Looking for more travels guides? Check them out here and here.
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Maybe you recall my first trip to Woodstock two years ago. Since then I’ve always had a special place in my heart for this picturesque Vermont town. My mom turned 65 this fall and I thought Woodstock would be a beautiful place to celebrate her birthday, enjoy the foliage (duh) and have some great farm to table meals.During this trip there was a stop in Brattleboro along the way, which is about a 3 hour drive from NYC. It’s a great town for an evening out and some retro digs.
I’ve added a bunch of new go-to spots to my list and if you’re thinking about a trip there. If you’re looking to enjoy the town, some cheese tastings, vintage shopping and lots of fantastic food, I would highly recommend Vermont.
We arrived to Brattleboro on Friday afternoon and checked into the Latchis Hotel. This retro hotel is a converted movie theatre that still has a theatre on one side of the building (great for late night popcorn cravings!) The Art Deco rooms are clean, spacious and the beds and linens are incredibly comfortable.
Downtown Brattleboro is only a few short blocks of shops and restaurants, a fun choice for a quick overnight in VT. We popped into duo for some wine and ended up staying for dinner, the great ambience and live jazz. A cozy American restaurant with a Mediterranean twist that’s the perfect place to linger from happy hour into your Friday evening. Snack on the house marinated olives with your wine. We’re still talking about how good they were.
Penelope Wurr is a gift shop owned and run by an English woman with the best taste in gifts from all over Europe. I got this wool German hat and I couldn’t be happier with the quality! Chic, non? I could’ve hung out there all night appreciating the greeting cards, art and holiday gifts! If you’re looking for something special for the holidays, check out her online shop here.
Check out Twice Upon a Time for vintage clothing, hats, home goods and loads of other fun stuff.
Before heading out of Brattleboro onto our next destination, we stopped at Grafton Village cheese shop for a tasting and an education on cheese. With a huge selection of fresh local cheeses as well as a variety from France and The Netherlands, there’s a cheese for everyone!
My big takeaway was that the cheese is better here because of Vermont’s high mountains. In the summer months, the cows are moved to the top of the mountain where the grass is better and they are free to pasture. This explains why Swiss cheese is also so good! Don’t believe me? Check out this article. You’re welcome for the cheese lesson.
Brunch in Quechee
We drove about an hour north to kick the day off with a delicious brunch at Simon Pearce in Quechee, VT. There’s a small bar area in the front of the store where you can enjoy beer flights and bar bites, like homemade kettle chips, while you wait for a table in the dining room.
Simon Pearce’s restaurant uses local ingredients serving delectable dishes like Vermont cheddar soup, beef stew, lamb burgers and other seasonal specialties.
The main floor offers a retail area that feels like some sort of glass museum with prices to match! Head downstairs to see glass blowers working at their craft.
A fun shopping experience in Quechee is the Antique Mall. It’s a huge antique store connected to several other gift shops and an Alpaca farm! You can buy scarves, hats and sweaters made from the wool of the Alpaca’s right outside.
A Warm Woodstock Welcome
Staying at The Blue Horse Inn was one of my favorite parts of our trip. The sweetest couple, Jill and Tony, just reopened this quaint Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Woodstock. They really nailed the cozy bed and breakfast feel that we were looking for. With a few sitting rooms each equipped with a fireplace to curl up with a glass of wine, cup of tea or a good book, this was one place I never wanted to leave.
We opted for the suite since there were 3 of us traveling. The king bed and linens are the most comfortable, there’s a brand new pullout bed that we were the first ones to sleep in!
The breakfast was beyond delicious- homemade zucchini bread to start, a rolled cheddar omelet with spinach pastry or vegan granola cups with banana cream and berries served with green mountain smokehouse maple bacon village, sausage or vegan sausage from the Woodstock Farmer’s Market. It was heavenly.
There’s no shortage of good restaurants in Woodstock.
Mangalitsa. This will go down as one of my favorite dining experiences to date. Call at least one week in advance to reserve a table. A dimly lit, 20-seat dining space that offers a limited, yet delicious menu with a wide wine selection and the warmest service that makes you feel like you’re a guest in their own home.
The menu changes daily based on what is local and fresh. I had butter poached lobster.
Serving up pub food and spiked apple cider, Bentley’s is the just the place for a hearty lunch, midday drink or even late night dancing (DJ on Friday and Saturday!)
Red Rooster in The Woodstock Inn
Located in the Woodstock Inn and Resort, this is a great choice for a bite at the bar or a nice sit down meal. Dine for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don’t skip the bread basket!
See and Do
Definitely make some time to walk around to see the beautiful landscape and covered bridges that are quintessential Vermont.
Visit the Woodstock Inn
Visit Sugar Bush Farm for cheese and maple syrup tastings. You can also feed the goats!
Unwind at the Spa
Cap off your weekend with a visit to the Spa at The Woodstock Inn. Book a service here and get access to the amenities for the entire day. My mom and I both had facials and we were so pleased with the service.
Enjoy aromatherapy in the sauna, multiple relaxation rooms, herbal tea and healthy snacks and Naturopathica products.
You can also order lunch and enjoy it in the spa.
Until Next Time
Vermont has this inviting quality that makes it hard to leave. Its understated charm and beauty paired with its slow-paced lifestyle makes it a destination I can count on when I need to escape for a few days of recharging. I’m so thankful to Phillip for bringing me here two years ago and even more grateful that I got to share it with my mom this fall.
I hope this guide helps you plan your next Vermont getaway. As always, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!
With all the weddings, birthdays and fall festivities this month brought, I’ve been trying to simplify my usual day to day hustle. This month has been full of activity, but also I’ve managed to rest more and simplify my weekly routine.
I used to stress out and mentally punish myself for “doing nothing”. I had a serious fear of FOMO (fear of the fear of missing out) Is that a thing? I’d put so many expectations on myself and wonder will I regret not attending this event or am I going to miss out on an opportunity? I would drive myself bonkers over making a decision.
Sometimes I would commit to something way in advance and then the days leading up to it I would dread it. It’s like when you find that perfect sweater you think you really need/want, so you jump the gun and buy it because you don’t want to miss out or hold off until it’s sold out in your size, but then it arrives and you’re like why did I buy this? I don’t want to wear this anymore.
Giving myself permission to do nothing has been a big adjustment, but I’m learning that by saying no to another thing, I’m saying yes to myself. I’ve realized that I can be so much more present for a few good things rather than committing to something I was unsure of to begin with and regretting it. Be honest with yourself and set boundaries.
Here are 5 ways I’m simplifying the everyday and hope that you can too!
Simplify your week
Agree to make one day of the week/weekend just for you. It can be tempting to be out and about, enjoying a sunny day in fall or to be the friend that always shows up. Take the pressure off of yourself! Show up for yourself by prioritizing rest. Of course non negotiables will arise, but when you have a few things lined up for the month in advance you can honor those commitments and assess whether you can really commit to anything else.
If overcommitting is a problem, plan the month out so that you can schedule the 1-2 days a week for yourself. If that means scheduling rest, write it down! You’re more likely to stick to it. If I’ve scheduled a workout or a yoga class, but I feel like resting instead, I honor that. Scheduling at least one day of rest during the week (preferably 2) with nothing on the calendar makes me so much more productive in the long run when the things I HAVE to do roll around.
Check out some great exercises on how to simplify in this book.
Simplify your workout
I used to be all about getting energy from HIIT workouts or going for a long run. I would hold myself to a strict schedule of getting to the gym 3-5 days a week. But for the past year, my body has been craving lighter, low intensity workouts. A yoga class, a brisk walk with Jack or some light weight lifting at home have been my go-to workouts.
Listen to your body and try not to be so rigid. Push yourself if you know you need the discipline, but switch it up if you start to get bored and dread working out at all.
Instead of a run, go for a brisk walk; Forego the HIIT and try a pilates class. Something as simple as a series of stretches or an at-home workout will save you time and allows you to really tune into what is working for you that day.
Check out my simple yoga wakeup video here. More coming soon!
Simplify your morning
Stop hitting the snooze button! I’m generally a morning person and feel most productive when I rise early, meditate before work and leave myself enough time to make my breakfast. Decide what you’re going to wear the night before and lay it out. (Just like in high school, right?!)
As much as it feels good to sleep for those extra 10 minutes, our snoozing habit leads us to rush out the door in a frenzy and ultimately start the day off with the sense of hurry.
Simplify your wardrobe
Stay away from trends. Invest in classic pieces that you’ll wear year after year.
Try a simple “uniform”. Black pants with flats and a button down shirt or sweater has become my work uniform and it takes the thinking out of my morning. Get a few pairs of basic black pants and rotate them. And when you’re feeling bored, you can always switch it up!
This sweater is the perfect addition to your fall uniform as the weather is getting chillier (size down).
Simplify your mind
Make a decision and stick to it. Don’t agonize over the what ifs. Think about it for a day; sleep on it if you have to. Write down the positives and negatives, but if it’s not a life or death situation, decide and be content with your decision.
Meditation has helped me to have the mental clarity to not dwell on situations. I’ve been working on a simple meditation called The Space Between. It allows us to be where we are right now, in the space between. Maybe something happened before that you keep going over and over again in your head or maybe you’re anticipating something that’s coming up.
This simple meditation helps with focusing on the present moment.
Try it: Close your eyes, inhale deeply and when you get to the top of the breath hold it for a moment. Focus on that pause. Exhale it out. Let all the air out and pause at the bottom. Focus on that moment. Repeat this for about 10 rounds of breath. You could also slow down or lengthen the breaths as you progress through the meditation.
How are you simplifying?
Now that the days are getting shorter, give yourself permission to simplify a few areas of your life so you can savor the everyday.
Have more ideas for simplifying your everyday? Share with me in the comments below or on my instagram page.
As I wrap up Self-Care September on the blog, I’m not retiring any of the practices that I’ve shared throughout the month. I’m just going to get better at them over time! For instance, today I took a two-hour after work and I hope to do that every single Friday from now on. I’ll be incorporating self-care rituals into my everyday and continue to be more mindful about how I view self-care overall.
With so much being wrapped up in a pretty bow and sold to us through social media today, it can be hard to distinguish the real from the gimmicks. I’ve become so much more selective about what I’m reading these days.
Today I’m sharing a few books and blogs I’ve been reading throughout the last month as part of my ritual of winding down in the evening. And instead of listening to music when I go on runs with Jack, I listen to my favorite podcasts. Each one of these reading choices has served as a reminder of how I can evolve and improve a bit more each day. Perhaps more importantly, they have guided me in finding contentment in the here and now. I hope my selections will inspire you to live your life more fully too!
Mindful Mondays- A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance
This resource was shared with me by a fellow yoga instructor and mindfulness teacher. A publication by Little Flower Yoga, this weekly email would be great for classroom teachers as well as parents. As an eighth-grade English teacher and yoga instructor, I’ve been including this resource in the classroom. Every Sunday you’ll receive an email for the week ahead. It includes a mindfulness article, a kid-friendly video and a breathing exercise that can work for kids and adults alike! Visit here for the direct link to sign up.
I couldn’t be more grateful for this resource as I started teaching a yoga and mindfulness class at my school this year. It has been a great addition to my teaching arsenal. I also discovered this book and have been using it as an additional resource in classes. It offers breathing exercises, yoga postures with easy to follow instructions and inspirational quotes throughout.
Little Flower Yoga also offers trainings for teaching yoga to children. They have both in-person training as well as webinars and online.
If this blog didn’t already exist, I would write it. It’s the perfect mix of all the things I love including French culture, food, fashion and how to live simply luxuriously.
Shannon Ables is such a refined, authentic person. She’s a high-school English teacher and blogger who wants to bring the simple pleasures or as she calls them, petit plaisirs, to her readers. A very well-read woman who shares the best books, her podcast often features guest authors and shares all the tips on how to live a fulfilling life.
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Simple daily details that just make me smile: tea, fresh bread from the neighborhood bakery, hydrangeas (surprise, surprise 😉) and time begin wearing scarves (and of course the curious nose of #tsllmyoscar ). #tsllsimpleluxuries #tsllhydrangeas
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Each week she puts out a This and That post where she recommends books, articles, recipes and signature style pieces. She recently posted this article which I’ve been reading to my students and yoga clients. These 10 Truths that Will Change the Way You See Yourself Today has been such a profound reminder of all the ways in which we see ourselves and how we can shift that perspective as well how we can change the stories we tell ourselves about what has happened to us along the way.
If you haven’t heard of this book, you may be living under a rock. Just kidding, but not really. My friend over at @becomebetty recommended this book over the summer and I finally dove into it. This is another good one for reframing the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. It’s full of great tips and and motivating stories that Rachel has experienced. Full of humor and truth, this book is a friendly reminder that we are not what has happened to us.
Some of the lies (chapter titles) are “I’m Not Good Enough”, “Something Else Will Make Me Happy” and “I’ll Start Tomorrow”. I find this book to be especially helpful for those of us who want to take a leap and do something different with our lives, but that little voice inside of us keeps getting in the way. Entrepreneurs and career changers alike may really appreciate Rachel’s words in this book.
Rachel’s podcast RISE also has episodes where she reads chapters of her book to you, so if you don’t want to read the book you have the option of listening to the audio version. She also has RISE Together a podcast about relationships that I want to dive into next!
This podcast is great for yoga instructors and practitioners alike. It’s so much more than information about the postures. Andrea Ferretti talks about the sutras, yoga as a business and has other yoga instructors on the show to share their journey.
If you don’t mind some of the silly banter between her and her husband when he’s on the show, the you just might like this one!
Eastern Body Western Mind
This was one of the required readings for my Yoga Teacher Training and I keep coming back to it time and again. I’m intrigued to learn about the whole person and this has helped me understand why we are the way we are. It’s basically a guide to the chakras which explains all about our personal development from the inside out. Learning the chakras is not a small task. There is so much to know and thankfully this book breaks in down in an easy-to-read yet comprehensive way.
If you’re interested in learning about the chakras, this book is a great place to start!
What books and blogs are you reading and what podcasts are you tuning into that make you feel good? Are they helping you on the path to living more fully? Share them with me in the comments or on my instagram page.
I hope you took the time to care for yourself this month. It’s so important for us to slow down and have those rituals we can turn to when we need them most.
Wishing you well.
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