LowerManhattan

CITY GUIDE: Lower Manhattan

Today’s CITY GUIDE is brought to you by Jess of Curating Style of Columbus, Ohio. Enjoy this guide to Lower Manhattan!

When people tell me they’re heading on vacation to New York City, I encourage them to avoid the touristy madness of Midtown behind. Where do I suggest instead? Lower Manhattan. Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, SoHo, Little Italy, the Financial District—all of these areas are full of amazing eats, shops, and sights. Since it’s hard to encapsulate even a little part of Lower Manhattan, in this City Guide I highlight some of my favorite places.

Looking for the New York-style pizza that people are always talking about? You’re in the right place—Greenwich Village has what I consider to be some of the best pizza on the island. Pizza Mezzaluna (pictured) and Arturo’s have delicious, coal-fired pizza and cozy ambiences. They offer those pie-shaped slices that I adore. When they’re fresh out of the oven, the best way to eat them is to fold them!

Chelsea is a neat neighborhood that feels almost home-like to me. If you love food or perusing any kind of market, stop by Chelsea Market—you can find everything from whole steamed lobsters to a new book to amazing cold-brew iced coffee. Afterwards, check out the High Line, my new favorite thing in Manhattan. It’s the perfect way to get off the streets, away from the cars, and out of the subway. The High Line is basically a pedestrian experience above the streets, converted from an old rail line. With foliage, gardens, plenty of benches, the High Line offers a totally different perspective of the city.

Beyond pizza, you can find every imaginable cuisine under the sun in Manhattan. Minetta Tavern, featured on this past season of Mad Men for one of Peggy’s supper dates, offers an incredible, life-changing burger. You can find really great bagels on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, but if you’re in Lower Manhattan, the place to try is Russ & Daughters. (As an added bonus, Russ & Daughters ships around the country, so you can get a fix when you’re back home too.)

While it’s nice to plan ahead in New York—especially if you’ve never been—sometimes you stumble across some perfect finds. Cool off and rest your feet at Morandi in the Village for some pastries and espresso. It’s a great place to recharge before heading back to the streets for shopping or sightseeing. For lunch, grab some piping hot fish and chips at A Salt and Battery.

The thing about Lower Manhattan is that the streets’ grid pattern changes and it becomes less predictable. Part of the fun is walking the streets a bit aimlessly—if you have an iPhone or other type of smartphone, you’ll invariably figure your way back—and taking in the sights and sounds. On weekdays, you’ll see moms and nannies pushing around strollers, bags, and more in Greenwich Village; the playgrounds are packed. Can you imagine trying to navigate New York with a stroller? It sounds so daunting to me!

If you have the time and the desire, go to the 9/11 Memorial. While a bit confusing to get from ticket pick-up to the actual site, it’s worth the trip. It’s a rather emotional trip—certainly if you suffered a loss from September 11th—but powerful and breathtaking. Right now, only the memorial pools are there, but the museum will be opening up soon as well. And just a glance around will show you the growth and construction of the new World Trade Center site just next door.

Thanks again to Jess for curating this post! Be sure to follow her on Twitter and say hi!

Featured image by Markusnl.

A First Home

You can look forward to a few guest posts this week while my work week gets hectic. I’m excited to introduce you to Tori! Today she’s sharing about her family’s experience moving out of their first home. Tori is a wife, mother and graphic designer based out of Idaho. She loves collecting wooden plates, watching Nora Ephron films, and spending time with her husband and 11-month old daughter.

As my husband and I prepare to move from the first place we’ve ever known as home together, feelings of excitement and sadness battle for first place in my queue of emotions.
While I recognize that a house is simply made of walls and a roof, I have grown to love our little home and the family that we have become while living here. It was where my husband and I truly became one, where we recently welcomed our first child. It is small and creaky, with battered baseboards and paint chipped walls, but right now, this old house is our home. And it is a place I will always want to remember.
Here are three pieces of art that will help you to remember the first place you called home:
1. Map of the town: During most moves, it’s not just your address that you’ll miss–it’s the local bakery down the street, the park across town, or just a street corner transformed by warm memories. These illustrated maps by Lena Corwin capture the little things that make a place special and will keep fresh in your mind all that you came to love about your old home.
2. Illustrated house portrait: When I look through pictures of the places I lived as a child, it’s rare that I come across an image of the outside of the home in its entirety. But whenever I do, I’m overcome with memories–long talks on the front stoop, sleepovers on the front lawn, learning to drive on that very street… The sweet details and small imperfections of these quirky prints by Rebekka Seale do such a wonderful job of capturing the story of your home created by those sweet moments.
3. Family photo shoot at home: My favorite family photos aren’t the ones where we are all wearing matching denim tops and forced smiles, whilst standing in an abandoned field at sunset. They are the ones taken during my daughter’s bath time, or while we’re unwinding in the living room after work. They are the images that capture our daily routine and the beauty of those small, everyday moments. These images of Naomi and Eleanor Davis from Rockstar Diaries, captured by Carissa Gallo, do just that.
This will be our first big move and I’m thinking of doing one of these (or maybe all three…) in each home we live in. How fun would it be to have a little gallery wall full of pieces like this, or even to just display them all on the mantle? Did you or do you plan to do anything to remember previous homes or towns? I’d love to know!
Tori

Relish: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Yogurt Bundt Cake

Relish is a monthly series by contributor Jon Schelander-Pugh. Check out his bio below to learn more about who Jon is!

Last month I shared the Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe, and I had intended to venture to another genre of food, but a couple things happened to change my mind: I picked up a wonderful mini-bundt cake tray at a garage sale for $2, I made my own yogurt and peanut butter, and I found a recipe for peanut butter yogurt bundt cake. Clearly, Fate was beckoning.

The original recipe I found was shared by Patricia Scarpin on Technicolor Kitchen, and that is a variation of a recipe she found in Lauren Chattman’s Cake Keeper Cakes recipe book. After considering some different options, I made my own alterations and now present to you what I believe is a deep-yet-classically-flavored cake.

While I did make my own peanut butter and yogurt for this recipe, you can certainly use ones from the store. Just make sure the yogurt is plain, and the peanut butter is unsweetened. The cake is sweet as it is, and my peanut butter contains no sugar. Also, I believe you’ll find using pure maple syrup results in a better flavor than if you use the cheaper maple-flavored corn syrup.

While I used mini-bundt cake molds, this recipe is typically made with a 12-cup bundt pan. The original recipe also came with instructions for making a chocolate ganache. However, I found that this cake was sweet enough that I only wanted some chocolate chips on top for a garnish and a chocolate drizzle for a lighter flavor. I found this recipe on Food.com for chocolate sauce worked really well. Their recipe makes a crazy-huge amount of chocolate syrup, so unless you are going through a chocolate milk phase, you can cut it way down.

Here’s what I did: mix together ¼ cup cocoa powder, ½ cup white sugar, and a dash of salt (optional) in a pot; slowly mix in ¼ cup water and then a ½ teaspoon vanilla extract; boil for 3 minutes while constantly stirring; cool until room temperature and strain to remove grit; and then drizzle on anything and everything! Or at least your bundt cake…and your breakfast cereal…and your ice cream……

The batter from this recipe is perhaps the most beautiful batter I’ve ever made or even seen. While I cannot recommend eating this silky-smooth batter due to its raw egg content, if you are to accidentally get some in your mouth you may just find yourself accidentally getting more in your mouth.

This cake is also really good if you just sprinkle on equal parts cocoa powder and powdered sugar. With normal sized bundt cakes, try placing Hershey’s Kisses periodically around the top plus the cocoa powder & powdered sugar mixture.


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Yogurt Bundt Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate baking chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour your bundt pan.
  2. Using a fork or a whisk, combine the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup in a medium bowl.
  3. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a fork or whisk.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Using a standing mixer or electric hand mixer, cream for about 3 minutes on medium-high. You may wish to start mixing on low because there is a tendency for the brown sugar to go flying.
  5. With the mixer on low, add a third of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, then half of the wet mixture, then another third of the dry mixture, then the last of the wet mixture, and finally the last of the dry mixture. Scrape the sides of your bowl between additions.
  6. Turn the mixer on medium-high and beat the mixture for about 1 minute. Reduce to low and add the chocolate baking chips, mixing until all the chips have mixed in (15-30 seconds).
  7. Scrape the batter into your prepared bundt pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes. It should rise and turn a golden-brown, plus a chopstick or skewer inserted halfway between the outside and inside walls of the pan should come out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
  9. Top with chocolate syrup, a mixture of cocoa powder & powdered sugar, or another chocolatey idea of your own and serve.

Inherent Pleasures

I can’t even believe how much my life has changed since May. I still have the same job(s), I’m still married to Adam (forever), and we still feel at home here in Columbus. The changes? I probably freelance 2-3 nights a week, I workout now, and I actually use weekends to take a break. I really loved this quote (above) that I found on Swissmiss this week:

“Staying focused on our goals detracts from the inherent pleasures of the activities we need to pursue to achieve those goals.” - Christian Jarret

I read it and I smiled. I couldn’t agree more.

Can you relate? What helps you achieve your goals? Do you ever feel like focusing too intensely can be detrimental? 

Homemade Aloe Vera Gel

Once a month, Heather from Tea With Me will be guest posting here on Show + Tell by focusing on a specific herb and showcasing their properties and medicinal uses. Not only do I love Heather’s photography and insight but her writing style draws me in every time! Enjoy and be sure to welcome Heather in the comment section!

Does anyone remember Excel’s Inferno gum commercials? I would always sing “Burn baby burn excel inferno!!” and K would correct me constantly. As we dive into summer, it’s inevitable that someone is going to get sunburned, especially when you are as fair as I am.

Known as Cleopatra’s beauty secret aloe vera is almost a mystical healing plant famously known for its capability to heal sunburns, but it also boosts immunity and has anti-inflammatory properties. Originally found in North Africa you can find your own little plant in most nurseries.

Would you be surprised if I told you aloe vera gel was clear? If not, why put a gel with green dye and perfumes on the largest organ you have?  Not only does it have dye, but that green Banana Boat goop has SD Alcohol 40, Glycerin, polysorbate 2, and more. Making your own homemade aloe vera gel could not be any easier.

What You’ll Need:

  • Aloe Vera Leaf
  • Coconut Oil
  • Vitamin E (optional)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Bowl/Blender

Since the amount of gel from a leaf can vary please use a 2:1 ratio between the aloe vera and coconut oil.

Note – A blender will make the lotion a lot smoother than smashing the aloe vera gel with a spoon or mortar and pestle.

Clean your hands and workspace thoroughly, you don’t want to have your homemade aloe vera salve contaminated. Choose a large succulent leaf from the base of the mother plant and slice off. Lay it down on the cutting board and slice the length of it without cutting all the way through.

In between the skin and the gel, there is a yellow residue; I find it helpful to let this drain. Once that is done peel back the edges and scoop out the gel with a spoon.

Add it to either a blender (if you wish to have it smoother) or mash it with a spoon and a bowl (or mortar and pestle). Mix in coconut oil and vitamin E, which is optional, and rub on to the burned area. If you have leftovers store in an airtight container in the fridge, aloe vera gel/salve always feels better cool on hot skin!

Coconut oil is a very effective moisturizer especially for dry skin. Like aloe vera, coconut has healing properties for skin problems such as eczema and others. If you will be using the entire amount right away feel free to skip the vitamin E. It helps preserve the salve a little longer in the fridge.

NewOrleans

CITY GUIDE: New Orleans

Today’s CITY GUIDE is brought to you by sisters Ciera and Jasmine born and raised in New Orleans.

PLUM STREET SNOBALL

As soon as Summer hits, so do the cravings! This is one of our favorite stops on a sweltering New Orleans day. Snow cones got nothin’ on a Snoball y’all! Unlike sno cones, the ice making up a snoball is shaved very finely resulting in soft, snowlike ice. When it comes to options, Plum Street offers a plethora of flavors and they never hold back on the syrup. Serving their snoballs in chinese take-out boxes with a plastic bag on the bottom to catch any syrup or melted overflow is their trademark. Plum Street is a small shed-type store with the fast moving line wrapping in and out of the double front doors! Don’t forget to top off your snoball with condensed milk for an even sweeter, creamier treat!

THE FLY

An area on the Riverfront part of Audubon Park, The Fly gets it’s name from a butterfly shaped shelter that was built to get a better view of the river (now demolished after damage from river traffic). The Fly is a great place for every type of person whether you are into playing sports, drinking daquiris with friends or just looking to relax by lying in the grass and reading a book. You will find groups having picnics or crawfish boils, couples enjoying the view, sunbathers keeping up their bronzed Summer skin, kids playing  sports, and exercisers jogging or riding bikes.

Around the backside of The Fly is another great spot to hang out if you want a more relaxing shady area. “The Tree” as it is commonly called by the locals is an area behind Audubon Zoo that homes a massive Oak tree with spanish moss hanging beautifully from the branches. It is here you will sometimes find the amazing site of a person sitting high in the middle of the splitting trunk to beat on their drum. There has even been beautiful outdoor weddings, and fashion photo shoots taken place here.

JAZZ FEST

Our favorite 2 weeks all year round in New Orleans is during Jazz Fest! The one event to mark your calendars for if you are planning a trip to New Orleans is Jazz Fest, always held the last weekend of April, and the first of May. Walking in the gates of this fest for the first time every year is a truly captivating feeling. There is nothing that we love more than enjoying some of the best food that New Orleans has to offer, some of the best live performances of our times, viewing some amazing artwork, and basking in the heat of Spring time in New Orleans. The city does not sleep after the Fest is over either. The night life during these two weeks are filled with just as much fun, and special live music shows as one city can possibly handle.

NIGHT LIFE: THE MARIGNY

As locals, Bourbon Street doesn’t really exist to us. The area of the city called The Marigny is where we prefer to spend our nights out. When we are discussing with our friends the plans for the night, “Frenchmen” is usually the first suggestion. This typically refers to a few blocks on Frenchmen Street between Decatur and Royal with many bars, most with amazing live music, to choose from. Also, in walking distance from Frenchmen Street are two other bars that we frequent when in this area, R Bar and Mimi’s. The R Bar, technically the Royal Street Inn and Bar is a laid back dive bar downstairs, and Inn upstairs where your bartender checks you in if staying there. Mimi’s is our favorite place to get some tapas before starting the night off or for a late night snack. The goat cheese croquetas drizzled with honey and carmalized onions and bottle of prosecco makes for a wonderful start to our nights out in the Marigny.

STANLEY

This is the perfect little spot right in historic Jackson Square. At Stanley, Chef Scott Boswell serves classic New Orleans comfort food with a unique twist. Although they are open daily from 7am to 10pm we definatly recommend hitting Stanely up for brunch!

The location provides a beautiful backdrop of St. Louis Cathedral as well as the musicians and artist who are in the square daily. With all day breakfast and brunch, delicious sandwiches, a soda fountain, house-made ice cream desserts, you can’t really go wrong! Last time we ordered two dishes to split, the Breaux Bridge Benedict and Bananas Foster French Toast (it has ice cream on it…for BREAKFAST!) and were in awe of how delicious they were!

*Jazz Fest photo 1 by Zander White. Featured image by joseph a.

Free 2-Week Gluten-Free Meal Plan

I’m excited to be sharing a simple 2-week gluten-free meal plan today! Click here to get your copy! After sharing that I went gluten-free and then following up with my post about healthy living, I had a lot of readers ask me for favorite recipes and tips. I don’t claim to know everything but I’m glad that I took control of my diet back in February. This meal plan contains a lot of the same types of produce (zucchini, salad greens, tomatoes) but also allows you to choose a lot of your favorite veggies and protein. I eat a lot of the same meals so you’ll see some repetition which will make grocery shopping easier.

Often times I hear people complain and say that eating gluten-free is expensive. I wholeheartedly disagree. Most of my diet is made up of eggs, fruit, veggies, rolled oats and meat. The only “gluten-free products” that I tend to buy are pizza crust mix, granola, and frozen meals for lunches. As I mention in the meal plan, we spend about $125-150 per week on groceries and try to only eat out 2-3 times.

Lastly, I want to encourage those thinking of trying a gluten-free diet to just give it two weeks. Not because 2 weeks will cure all your problems but I found that it started to feel like a natural part of my life after 2 weeks. I don’t promote gluten-free living as a fad diet. After suffering from fatigue, migraines, bloating, and depression for most of my adult life…I view my gluten-free diet as medicinal. It allows me to have the energy to workout daily, balance my schedule, and really enjoy my life. As Shauna (Gluten-Free Girl) said, “Let’s help some more folks to be well.”

I hope that this meal plan will help some of you to be well.

July’s New Thing #1

I attempted and succeeded at July’s New Thing #1: make healthy(ish) popsicles! I bought the molds on Amazon ($12) and searched for recipes without added sugar. A lot of popsicle recipes have you add 2 tablespoons – 2 cups of refined sugar. BLECH! I finally found this recipe on Pinterest (I didn’t link to the actual post because there wasn’t a direct link) and decided to go with it! Here’s what I used:

  • Half of a can of pineapple tidbits in juice (not syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Half of a can of coconut milk
  • Half of a banana
  • Some type of blender (I used our Magic Bullet)
  • Some type of mold

You literally just blend everything together and that’s it! I had to blend everything in two batches since the Magic Bullet isn’t that big. Pour into the molds and place the tops securely!

I made a batch last weekend and I let them freeze for about 4-5 hours before eating them. We had to run them under hot water to get them loose but they are delicious! This weekend I added a random amount of rum – who doesn’t love boozey popsicles?

*All photos taken in my dark, little kitchen on my iPhone. Excuse the horrible lighting.

Currently

LOVING: My $10 sandals from F21. I bought three pairs because, in reality, they’re kind of crappy and I want to wear them all summer. I think I love the nude color because it sort of feels like I’m barefoot. I always love the idea of wearing heels or wedges and feeling a bit taller than my 5 foot self but I’m a flats girl at heart and I love being comfortable.

READING: WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, by Shirley Jackson. It’s eerie and I love Jackson’s writing style. My next read will be YOU REMIND ME OF ME, by Dan Chaon.

WATCHING: Tuesday night, Adam and I watched Predator and I can’t lie…I loved it. It all started when we watched one of the Rambo movies last weekend and I really liked that too. I don’t resonate with the concept of “guy movies” or anything like that so I’m just going to embrace my new found love of violent/jungle-esque movies.

ANTICIPATING: Next weekend we are going to Indianapolis and spending time with my best friend, her husband and their one-year-old! I can’t wait.

LISTENING TO: The Lumineers, Fiona Apple, Beach House, and Louis CK stand up.

PLANNING: We’re going to try to buy a house before next April and so financially we’ve been focused on that. I’m also planning on our top secret tropical vacation in October by working out pretty consistently.

WORKING ON: July is a really, really busy month at my day job and so I’m working on finishing up a lot of freelance projects this weekend. I’ll be resuming the usual load of work once August is here. Projects include blog re-designs, a book cover, a few logos, and some marketing material.

WISHING: I’m wishing that all of Columbus gets power (we had some massive storms last weekend) and I could also go for some cooler temperatures. High of 103 degrees tomorrow! Yikes.

What are you currently up to? Any fun plans for the weekend? 

I was planning on a guest post today but it fell through. Thanks, Liz, for inspiring today’s post! Photo taken by my friend Benji on his iPhone. We’re all extremely sweaty at the Doo Dah parade.

Midweek Weekend

I think this July 4th was one of the first ones that broke up my work week so obviously. Most of my life I was in school (and off during the summers) and perhaps the past few Independence Days were on weekdays closer to Saturday or Sunday. It really felt like a weekend in the middle of the week! I slept in, drank too much cold brewed coffee, we saw fireworks, ate great food, attended a parade and spent some time soaking our feet in the $15 kiddie pool! Not only was it a HOT “week weekend,” it was extremely fun.

I vote for more week weekends from now on.