I.

Itinerary: Day-Trip to Philly

I don’t know why, but there is something about Philadelphia that just has me going back. If I had to take a guess, it’d probably be because the city is just filled with so much culture and history– it’s hard to get enough! Don’t even get me started on the Georgian-style homes; I secretly look at listings when I’m out there!

Being in NYC we are lucky that we are just a short 2-hour drive away; with that said, we packed ourselves into the car and drove off to experience the city of brotherly love. No car? No problem! The Amtrak train will get you there in about 1h 30mins. They currently have a promotion going on – check it out! Alternatively, there are also buses that can get you out there; ah, the possibilities :).

Below is a day-trip itinerary we did most recently. Below that? All the fun spots that we recommend from visiting the city a few times; feel free to pick a few things and make the day trip your own! Also, always leave room for uncovering your own hidden gems– you just never know what you’ll find :).

Early Bird: 9AM

It’s tried and true, but still so good. Start with a tour of the iconic Liberty Bell. No tickets are needed. Cross the street for Independence Hall, where you can go into the room where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted.

Been there done that? Then try this:  Read more

T.

The Best of Cold Spring, NY (Your Half-Day Guide)

Not all trips have to be full day trips; even going out for just a half day is worthwhile, in my book. There’s just something about disrupting what you’re doing for a little while and then perhaps coming back to it. It’s kind of like you’re at school and you sneak out for 5 minutes to go to the ‘bathroom’; that little pause is sometimes so worth it, right? Well, that’s what I feel about half-day trips. And for our latest one we ventured out to Cold Spring, NY.

After having breakfast at home early in the morning and relaxing a bit, we decided to break our day a little, called my cousin Jonathan in Brooklyn, scooped him up, and chatted our way on up to Cold Spring.

cold spring new york

It was about an hour and a half going up via car (Amtrak will get you there from Grand Central in about the same time) and we arrived a little hungry, so off to Hudson Hil’s Café & Market we went. It prides itself on using quality, fresh & local ingredients from the Hudson Valley and has been rated very highly. The place is a little small, so please note that there may be a bit of a wait. When we went we waited for about 25 minutes, so make sure you control that hangry ;). And yes, I enjoyed my mimosa before my food arrived #keepingitreal. All in all, very yummy :).

Explore & Shop

We thought we would walk off some of the food we had by popping into all of the cute shops that caught our eyes on Main Street. Cold Spring is just such a cute little town to take a stroll in (even if it was raining!). From antiques to camping gear and more in between, here were a few of our faves:

Antiques:
There are so many antique shops in this village, that we actually went into almost all of them! We really wanted to see if there was a difference, and I’m happy to say that they each specialize in their own crafts. Whether it be furniture, toys, lighting or art, I feel that you’re covered here and are sure to find a little something to bring back!

There was this one shop next to Bjiou that was operated by a husband and wife duo who have traveled the world and are both artists themselves. They have a great variety of things and actually love humor (as you can tell from the kitschy signs they have hanging around). I found a little glass tray that sits proudly in my bedroom!

Cold Spring General:
Upon entering, the sweet scent of a hand-poured candle burning in all its sensory-driving glory welcomed us. Books, mats, Rifle Paper Co. products, candles and more! Be sure to check out the back where they stash some beverages. The cute shop supports American-made products and sells locally-made goods!

Old Souls:
We try to go camping at least once a year and this store had the cutest little things around. I even found something for pulling ticks off of your skin. Listen, when you find one on the back of your husband’s neck one night in your tent, you get rid of that sucker!

Cold Spring Apothecary:
They make their own batches of candles, teas, skin care cleansers, hair treatments and more! They even make some fresh hot chocolate in their little café inside. The place is so aesthetically clean and pleasing. I heard so much about their candles and, after smelling them, had to bring one back home. I ended up getting a Bergamot & Basil scented one from their kitchen collection, which helps cut the smell of strong foods in the kitchen! :).

I’m sure all that poking your head around into the shops made you work up an appetite, right? Well, fear not! Head on down the little walkway and find yourself near Rincon Argentino, where empanadas, light sandwiches and delicious baked goods (caramel filled churros, anyone?) await! Alternatively, you could also go to the very popular MooMoo’s Creamery and get a scoop of one of their homemade, specially crafted flavors. My husband got their Nutella flavor; I just had to take a baby taste of it (lactose intolerant and all), and let me say, it was de-lish! We ended up doing both places as a snack; I mean, when in Rome, right? 😉

There’s a cute little promenade that looks over the Hudson River. Eat your empanadas and/or ice cream, enjoy the view and enjoy life!

Extending your stay into a full day:
– If you are looking to do some activities on the water, Hudson River Expeditions has you covered.
– If we stayed for dinner, Le Bouchon is where we would have gone for some authentic French food– you know me, the francophile! 😉
– The West Point Foundry allows you to hike, take in some beautiful scenery and even gives you the opportunity to take your own tour to learn more about how it played a major part in the American Industrial Revolution.

Happy Wandering!
xx,

Y.

Your Weekend Guide to the Catskills, NY

weekend guide getaway catskills

Looking for a weekend of R&R, maybe a little adventure thrown in there, too? If you said ‘yes,’ I’d like to welcome you to the Catskills in New York! Now, the Catskills is actually quite huge, so I’ve narrowed it down to the Phoenicia, Hunter, Tannersville and Saugerties area. Ambitious, I know ;).

Coming out of the colder winter months in NYC, we have been itching for some warmer weather to go out and enjoy some nature up in the mountains and really enjoy being ‘al fresco.’ For our latest getaway, we retreated up to the Catskills in NY (about a 3-hour drive from Queens) and, while having no cellular service for a few days initially freaked me out, it was the detox and quality of life that I actually have been in desperate need of for a while now.

This guide includes things on our itinerary for a weekend away, but please feel free to take the spots that intrigue you the most and make your own itinerary! Everyone is different and you may want to do more of one thing than another; the choice is yours! The Catskills are even great for a daytrip, too (we’ve done it! :)). Happy weekend-ing![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

kaaterskill falls

"While we did drive quite a bit, we didn't mind it, really; all of the roads were pretty much scenic all the way. We rolled down our windows, inhaled in deeply and had smiles so big, the break and fresh mountain air revitalized us!"

catskill mountains sign

Where To Stay

The Emerson
Resort & Spa

With so many places to stay in the Catskills, The Emerson is a unique and special find. Named after the famous poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, the resort is committed to delivering what Emerson himself believed in: that nature is part of man and that we must harness its restorative properties. Their walls tell stories through unique, beautiful art, including quotes from Emerson himself. Not only are they inspired by nature, but they are committed to preserving the environment by being a model for future sustainable hotel development.

In our search, we were looking for a place that would offer a relaxing setting, was close to a body of water, had a great view of the mountains and provided amenities that would make our stay that much more comfortable for a truly relaxing weekend away. The Emerson Resort & Spa was so gracious in hosting us and it worked out wonderfully because their location in the Catskills is central enough to enjoy activities nearby but also nestled far enough to make you feel like you’re really on a true escape. The property itself, though, holds so much to discover. Ask the super friendly and very knowledgeable front desk to help you book a beginner’s guide to fishing, how to pitch a tent, where to find a local trail that fits your experience or ask what time the bonfire starts! It is perfect for anyone looking to get away; whether you’re flying solo, coming with a friend, or bringing your family on up, you will be sure to enjoy your time here (shall I mention that even some celebrities have stayed with the resort in the past year?).

Year-round, they offer great savings packages that will be sure to peak many interests– from babymoons, fly fishing, a girl’s getaway to even a mushroom walk! What I love the most about this hotel, beyond their super comfortable rooms, is that they are truly committed to making the property such a valuable experience. They have a shopping village attached where you can get some local Catskills-made goods, like Ginger Tonic (LOVE and perfect for keeping that immune system up and at ’em!), clothing, home décor, gifts for the kids, and much more. Originally, there was a dairy barn silo located on the property and, instead of knocking it down, they turned it into the world’s largest kaleidoscope where you can enter and watch a show. Looking into summer, they are creating seating around the Esopus Creek where a brick oven will be installed and fresh pizza will be made as you watch the sun set. Magical? Yes!

catskill emerson resort and spa

Feel the morning sun kiss your cheeks as it rises while on your balcony.

Enjoy breakfast at the property’s onsite restaurant, Woodnotes.

Comfortable rooms; ours featured an air-jet tub (LOVE!), a swiss rain shower, a king-size bed, and a fireplace to keep you warm.

Emerson Resort & Spa
Emerson Resort & Spa

There is so much more that the resort has to offer (gym, sauna, pool, etc.), but what makes them even more special (in my eyes) is that they encourage you to come in, even if you aren’t an overnight guest, and take advantage of some of their facilities and services! Bring up your laptop and go into their beautiful study and enjoy free wifi while you sip on a cocktail from the Woodnotes Grill. By the way, their bar has master mixologists so ask the bartender to make you something special 😉. Schedule a massage or enjoy a mani-pedi– either way, you will walk into the spa and instantly feel relaxed.

All in all, it was a great experience and can’t recommend it enough!

Emerson Resort & Spa, Chandelier
Emerson Resort & Spa
Emerson Resort & Spa

Where To Eat

Quality over quantity; while the restaurant scene may not be as plentiful as back in a big, metropolitan city like NYC, the food is so delicious, you could totally go back and eat at the same restaurants again and again if you wanted to! Below you will find some of our picks:

Tavern 214: Farm-to-Table with American Fare. They are open late which makes it convenient if you’re out exploring and need to freshen up before dinner. Try their famous mac & cheeses or pesto chicken sandwich!

Woodnotes Grille: The restaurant is beautiful and spacious, with a warm feeling for breakfast and special lights that make you feel like you’re dining under the stars at night. Attached to the Emerson Resort & Spa, the food is made with locally-sourced ingredients and has an outdoor patio for seating, overlooking the Espous Creek.

Mama’s Boy Catskills: While we didn’t get a chance to eat here, I heard that Mama’s Boy Burgers was labeled as ‘the Shake Shack of the Catskills.’ They also have Mama’s Boy Pizza! And ice cream. My husband’s inner child rejoices :D.

Phoenicia Diner: This diner was built out in Long Island, New York, picked up, and placed in the middle of route 28- nifty, right? We’ve been coming here for years and recently it’s gained quite the popularity. I always, always, always get their tortilla soup as it’s the best I’ve ever had. Expect a wait time for seating, but they have a cute little bar attached that allows you to sip while you wait :).

Phoenicia Diner
Phoenicia Diner
Phoenicia Diner
Phoenicia Diner

Sweet Sue’s: As you may know, my husband is quite the food critic. But, for the first time in french toast history, I heard him say “there is just no way to improve this, it’s perfect, absolutely perfect.” He, my friends, was referring to their pecan crusted french toast. I loved their goat cheese omelette and Sue’s got quite the variety of pancakes to offer. Get here early as crowds can start to gather. Bon appétit!

Phoenicia NY
sweet sue's
sweet sue's

Maggie’s Krooked Café: First off, let me start by saying that Maggie is so fun and has a personality that is so contagious! We had the pleasure of meeting her and learning that she is originally from Brooklyn (Brooklyn in the house!). She is very passionate about her craft and you can tell with your first bite! The love she pours into her food and making people feel welcome is wonderful to see. It’s in the cute “Dr. Seuss-like” town of Tannersville. I had the best veggie burger with curried potatoes ever and Massimo, my husband, had her grits that he just couldn’t get enough of! The café is also unique that the floor is uneven, giving it its name and charm!! Try her baked goods – they all looked amazing.

tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe
tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe
tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe
tannersville new york catskills krooked cafe

What To Do

Nature:
Kaaterskills Falls: Allow 2 hours for this scenic hike. Parking is at an overlook and you’ll need to (safely) walk on the side of the road to get to the start of the hike, but it is absolutely beautiful. It starts out steep with some rock climbing, but then it gets pretty flat. The waterfall is the tallest in NY state and as you approach it, I hope it leaves you in a moment of awe and bliss as it did for me; truly humbling.

kaaterskill falls
kaaterskill falls new york
kaaterskill falls new york

Kaaterskills Falls Viewing Platform: Alternatively, if you don’t feel like hiking, you can drive to the top, park your car, take a 5-10 minute walk (follow the signs!) and you will reach the beautiful Kaaterskill Falls overlook that not only shows you the waterfall from above, but also gives you a beautiful view of the mountains.

North/South Lakes: I am so happy that the lovely staff at the Emerson recommended this to us! It was quite the beautiful experience to walk alongside the lakes and just sit and be thankful for life! Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboat and enjoy the beauty abound.

A little Fun:
The Town Tinker Tubes: Love tubes and a little bit of rapids (a.k.a. seeking a little adventure)? Then set sail on your tube as you go down the Esopus Creek, enjoying yourself getting bounced around a bit for a fun water adventure sure to bring you tons of laughter (at least, it would for me!). FYI: This isn’t your regular lazy river ride. Open in the summer!

Bear Creek: Who doesn’t like a little innocent game of mini golf once in awhile? If you’re looking for something with more movement, this place also offers horseback riding and other activities!

The Scenic Train Ride by Catskill Mountain Railroad is open year-round on select weekends (check the schedule!) and offers you the opportunity to ride in an open-air car (or you can go inside if you choose). We have done this train ride in the fall amongst the foliage and it was absolutely beautiful (bring a sweater, though).

catskills mountains

Unique rides for spring, summer, fall & winter! Bring your camera!

scenic train ride catskills

Taking it Easy:
The Spa at the Emerson: The moment you walk in you feel instantly calm. Sip on mint water while you get your nails done or book a massage that will melt your stress away!

Catskills Yoga House: Take a moment to focus on yourself, your body, your breath. Your inner light will thank you.

phoenicia homes catskills
vintage shopping catskills new york
antiques shopping castkills new york

Shopping + Additional Notes:

  • Antique shop in Phoenicia or Tannersville.
  • Brewery to open this summer!
  • Check the events calendar for some neat weekends up ahead like the Cupcake Festival & BBQ Fest!
  • On your way back down, make sure to drive by the town of Saugerties and check out all the cute houses- I couldn’t get enough!
what to do in catskills
Saugerties Beautiful Home Catskills

xx,
signalorenii

Saugerties Catskills Visit Catskills Homes

Special thanks to the Emerson Resort & Spa for hosting me! All opinions are my own.
Please feel free to leave your questions/comments below!

S.

Stay Positive, Stay Confident

I will admit, the past couple of weeks have been very exhausting. Between work and everything else in between, it seems like it has just been non-stop. I’ve found that at times, like a normal human, you start to get down, focus all of the ‘wrong,’ and lose the reason why you do the things you do.

People with anxiety tend to always think in the future and look to the current situation as being caged in.

But here’s the thing, you’re not caged in. The current moment, the troubles and obstacles in your way right now aren’t forever– they’re temporary. Sure it’s hard when you’re going through it, but it’s important to realize that it’s in the present moment and that things will get better and work themselves out.

You need to stay positive. Breathe in the fresh air and let the frustrations out. It helps you regain yourself, it helps you understand that you *are* in control. Getting back your confidence is important and that’s what’s going to propel you to continue on through the difficult and take you to the better.

I welcome you to take a deep, long breath right now through your nose. C’mon, right now. Breathe in. Pause. Hold it for a couple of seconds. A couple more. Hold all of that bad mojo within you. And SLOWLY go ahead and start to RELEASE it on out through your nose. Slowly.

That feeling at the end, that’s positivity. That’s confidence. That’s you telling you that you’ve got this.

Girl, you’ve got this.

xx,
signalorenii

What I’m wearing:
Look 1:
Harlyn Zip Up Moto Jumpsuit c/o Tobi ; Layer On Me Lariat Necklace c/o Tobi ; Paradiso Oversized Sunglasses, Quay ; Booties, old, see similar here

Look 2:
Daydreams Wide Leg Jumpsuit c/o Tobi ; Material Girl Motto Jacket, old, see similar here ; Lace up sandals, old, see similar here ; fringe bag, old, see updated style here

S.

Shop Now: Cute Spring Dresses!

I absolutely fell in love with some of the maxi dresses I saw during NYFW this past week, including some personal favorites from designers like Verdad and Leanne Marshall. All in all, the shows had me super excited for the spring season and had me searching for cute dresses every night!

Wedding season and those it’s-finally-sunny-let’s-do-an-outdoor-brunch gatherings are coming upon us soon, so be prepared by starting to look for outfits now, in a timely manner, and you will save yourself the rush and headaches later!

Below you will find some of my favorite picks that I found out in the digital world (I’ve already ordered a few! ;)). Look to infuse your wardrobes with some key fashion pieces you can wear throughout the spring and into the summer that will give your closet a little bit of a ‘pop’ and ‘romance.’  Happy shopping! :).

xx,
signalorenii