My partner recently came to visit NY and I really wanted to show him around and be a tourist in my own city. I myself, have a huge love for museums and old art, so I decided to schedule a visit to the grand Metropolitan Museum of Art.
While doing some research for his visit, I found out the Met actually has 3 museum buildings! What? Who knew?! (Probably many people who leave their house every now and then, but that was not me.)
Apparently, there is an old church on the upper west side in Washington Heights that was turned into a gorgeous little museum called The Met Cloisters. That is where we decided to go, and boy am I glad!
This museum was an absolute marvel! I was very thoroughly impressed! There. we saw many beautiful paintings that were hundreds of years old, yet somehow preserved to keep their wildly vibrant colors! They had various sculptures, altars, tombs, romantic outdoor gardens surrounded by stunning pillars, and my favorite - stained glass.
The old church building was kept as is with many old school stairways where I imagine secrets were whispered between men of high importance and damsels met their lovers in secret.
For New York residents the price is donation based and you pay as you like. If you are visiting as a group that contains at least one NY resident, the "pay as you wish" price extends to the whole group. Otherwise it is $25 for those not residing in NY.
This place is fantastic for an impromptu photo shoot, so dress nicely when you visit, but watch out, there is a slightly cranky security lady who will not be fond of your extensive photo taking (HA!), but don't worry she's harmless. Brush her off and have your super great time!
Something So Feminine About Old Time Entryways
Today it is very apparent that it is a man's world in church, and almost everywhere else. However, way back in time, it was the Goddess who was worshiped! Women everywhere were revered, celebrated, and thought of as holy! Very little of that remains today, but we can still witness that old time practice through architecture conserved from the times of the Goddess.
In churches, it can especially be witnessed through every single entryway one passes through. The doorways, are distinctly shaped as the external female reproductive organs. There are MANY variations but they very often have these things in common - there is a triangular design at the top signifying the small portion of the female body designed solely to bring forth pleasure. The tip of this triangle is often 3 dimensional and sometimes overlaps as if depicting the protective hood of this very sensitive organ. The hollow entry way directly below signifies the holy birth canal through which all life must pass to enter this world. Don't believe me?? Just attend mass on Sunday!
Some Of The art
I probably took photos of every single piece of art they had, but you should still go see it in person for yourself. The museum is marvelous and so much of the old art is so incredibly well preserved. Most definitely worth the visit.
Click here to check out their website and find further information to better plan your visit.
Caravan of dreams is my favorite vegan restaurant in the city so far!
I have been dining there since I was 18 years old and just beginning to study health counseling and nutrition.
While they have a fully vegan and very health conscious menu, they are also equipped with a full bar and serve delicious tequila cocktails.
Equipped with a party room in the back, you can make reservations and host various events like birthday celebrations and so on.
I have tried many dishes at this restaurant from salads to polenta to falafels to deserts that I didn't think would taste good vegan. I have not yet ever been disappointed! The food is always so good! And the service is super friendly and accommodating!
I definitely recommend this place for a romantic dinner, a lunch out with friends, or a celebratory party! Though please call in advance to schedule one of those!
If you find yourself up North this Valentine's day season, you absolutely MUST visit the wonder that is the Ice Castles in the white mountains of my favorite place in the entire country - New Hampshire.
These huge walk through ice structures are anything short of extraordinary! You will walk through giant walls of frozen water lit up with beautiful color lighting, pass by various flowing fountains, watch live performers playing with fire, and hear music played by Lindsey Stirling throughout the visit. They even have an ice slide you can go on over and over to bring out your playful inner child!
The ice castles are SO romantic, as well as family friendly. You can visit them with you significant other, or take the whole family up for a play date. Either way, you will have a really great time.
Make sure you dress warm (DUH!), and if you still get chilly, you can enjoy delicious hot apple cider sold on the premises.
The ice castle are conveniently located near many fantastic restaurants, such as the Woodstock Brewery Inn, the Gypsy Cafe, One Love Brewery, and the Common Man. I have eaten at all of these restaurants (I brag!), some many more than once, and I highly recommend each one! I also recommend that if you find a new place in the area to eat that you loved, to let me know so I too can visit and partake in the fun.
Here are some photos from my last visit.
I hope you get to see this wonder and report back. Would love to know what you thought!
With kids out of school, summertime can be tough when trying to come up with ways to keep your children occupied and entertained. One of the things I absolutely love doing, is taking my kid to farms where we get to pick our own produce and learn about farm animals. She gets to be close to nature, learn about where food comes from, and gets to spend a whole day playing outside. Alstede Farms is a place we frequent with my friends who have kids, and the place never disappoints.
You will find acres upon acres of farm land, apple orchards, fields of peach trees, green houses, farm animal petting zoos, a gift shop, ice cream stand, and a big play area for kids.
You would start the visit by purchasing your entrance bracelet and get on line for the tractor ride. The tractor brings you to each picking area where you get about 30 minutes to pick your fruits and veggies. You may choose to stay longer if you wished of course, but 30 minutes of gathering at each station, and with children is plenty! You would be surprised how much of a workout a day at a farm can be.
Once we paid for all the stuff we picked, we got ice cream and slushies at the ice cream stand and did some shopping at the gift store.
The rest of the day was spent feeding and playing with the farm animals. The farm has a large petting zoo area where visitors may purchase food pellets and feed the animals directly from their hands. My daughter loves playing with goats and will literally spend all her change spoiling the babies.
The petting area has horses, donkeys, cows, goats, even fluffy bunnies and alpacas!
There are also gated animals you cannot touch, such as geese and chickens, but they are still fun to observe.
As for actual picking options, the loot rotates with the seasons.
During the summer time, the farm will have lots of berries available such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. The farm will also have veggies like snap peas, which were SO unbelievably sweet.
In the fall Alstede offers apple pickings, pumpkin picking, and various Halloween activities for kids.
In the store you may purchase fresh items like herbs, cucumbers, asparagus, planting seeds, fresh baked apple cider doughnuts (which I HIGHLY recommend you buy!), apple cider, and sustainably raised meats.
These are some of the things I brought home from this past visit and as I continue to return I will update this post to show more seasonal items through the year.
Last month, my friend and I took our kids to the Mystic aquarium in Connecticut, to spend some time in the sun and see some fabulous sea creatures. We had a really great time! The aquarium was not too big but you can definitely spend a whole day exploring it with friends and kids. They had many aquatic animals on display and really beautiful spacious habitats set up for them. They also had spacious flower lined paths for visitors to walk around and for kids to play.
Here is what we thought of the place and some of our most favorite animals from this trip.
P.S. If you purchase your tickets online before you get to the aquarium, you will save 15% off your entrance and get to fully skip the line. Win win for everyone.
The baby belugas were the first animal we came across and I absolutely fell in love! These adorable creature just swim around and look like they're constantly smiling at curious onlookers. They seemed to actually enjoy the attention and notice when we were waving at them. Truthfully, I could have just stood there all day looking at them and been satisfied.
I mean, come on! How cute are these guys?!
These were the most giant frogs I've ever seen in my life! This one particular green one took a great liking to my daughter and actually hopped over to us to challenge her to a (very long!) starring contest. The frog pond had tons of tadpoles which were very large and clearly visible. I thought that was very cool! The frogs shared their space with many aquatic turtles which came out to sunbathe on a rock, and we counted about 12 turtles which were visible.
Part of the interactive experiences the aquarium offers are bird feedings, sting Ray and baby shark touchings, a seal show, and different games for children and adults which teach visitors about trash removal from oceans and wildlife preservation.
The bird feeding was an activity the kids really enjoyed! You can purchase a stick with seeds glued to it, go into a large birdcage and hope a cute little parakeet hasn't it stuffed itself to exhaustion yet and lands on your stick. Some of the birds sat way up high on tree branches, so the kids needed a little "pick me up".
Here are some more creatures we got to spend time with and learn about.
There were many other animals not featured in this post, so make sure you visit the aquarium and see them all for yourself.
Mystic Aquarium is located at 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355
Click here to visit their website.
This summer has been one of the most memorable I've had in a long time. I was blessed with so many traveling opportunities (ALL of which I took! and ALL of which I will talk about in the days to come.)
One of the most epic trips I took this summer was a trip to France where I got to see family I haven't seen in over eight years, meet all the new children born in the last decade, introduce my daughter, visit the home of one of my dearest friends, and of course eat all the croissants and cheeeeese!
The itinerary was epic! We visited Paris, Lille, Velargues, Montpellier, and even spent a few days in a playground in Belgium. Each place had their own fabulous attractions and deserve their own post. Which is exactly what they are getting, starting with the first place we visited, and one of my favorite cities in the world - Paris!
Paris is a magical city full of history, absolutely fantastic architecture, best smelling bakeries, and subway maps containing illustrations of well known tourist destinations - making it super easy to travel via public transport. Here are some of the destinations I visited and really enjoyed:
Tour Eiffel - The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower should most definitely be on everyone’s bucket list, and if you are in Paris for the first time, you must absolutely visit this area and even go as far as to climb the tower to the very top! I have been to the tower many times and have climbed it on at least 7 different occasions (I brag!). And I must say, this place has always felt so magical and romantic to me, and no matter how many times I would go up and come back back down, it never lost its appeal, until now.
Back in the day, the streets under the Eiffel tower were open and easily accessible to the public. People were able to walk around under the tower, take pictures, have dates, picnics, and other gatherings. Now, due to the increased amount of terrorist attacks in Paris, this very unattractive glass fence structure has been built around the Eiffel Tower, complete with security checkpoints. It is still free to roam around under the tower near the entrance, but that experience is different as well. Inside the fence were more metal gate structures, and it just felt a bit closed in, a lot more empty, a bit ugly, and kind of depressing. And while I completely understand the necessity for safety, it definitely took away from the magic I once felt there.
Again, if this is your first time in Paris, definitely go for the experience! The climb offers a lot of history overview and teaches you how the tower was built; it is very educational, a VERY good workout, and if you're on a romantic trip with your partner, you will find a place to kiss on every floor! But if you have done it before, I suggest going to a nearby park, sit by the large fountain overlooking the tower, dip your feet, eat some food, take some pictures and simply enjoy the views from afar.
The Louvre Museum
If I arranged this post based on what I love most about Paris, the Louvre museum would be listed first! I may also be a bit biased because I really love museums, but this attraction just does not ever disappoint! The museum itself is huge! Complete with statues, pillars, paintings- the infamous Mona Lisa hangs there, Napoleon's old homes with original items, items from homes of Kings and queens, and so much more! You definitely need more than a day (possibly more than a week!) to see the entire thing. If museums are not your thing, don’t worry, near the Louvre, you will find the most beautiful little park where you can sit surrounded by castle like buildings, beautiful trees, and just relax, have a picnic, read a book, and just enjoy the views of this super mini version of the Versailles.
Rides Near The Louvre
L'Arc de Triomphe
The arc is nice because it is absolutely beautiful, has great historical significance, and does NOT take the full day to visit! Ha! The line might be a bit long to buy tickets to go all the way to the top, but the views from up there are totally worth the wait! It is also a nice place to just walk around, take some photos, and buy souvenirs. There is a large roundabout in front of it and many tourists like to take the iconic “in the middle of the street -jump with your hands up- with the beautiful streets of Paris behind them” photos when all cars are stopped at a red light.
The street which houses the old cabaret, is probably my favorite street to walk on. The old mill looking house is so pretty, and the street itself feels full of energy! I have not yet seen a show at the Moulin Rouge theater, and if you can afford the high ticket price, I absolutely recommend checking that out, but if not, a simple walk around the neighborhood is just as fascinating. If you are NOT traveling with kids, there are many fabulous sex shops to browse in, as well as the very informative sex museum, which in my opinion greatly surpasses the one in NY by far!
ARcade La Tete Dans Les Nuages
Some Daily Wonders
Some Things To Watch Out For