What to do in NYC During the Holidays

What to do in NYC During the Holidays

New York City is one of my favorite places to visit during the holidays because of the beautiful Christmas displays, endless things to do and see, and of course, the huge selection of food! Here are my favorite activities in NYC during Christmas time.

1.) Walk around holiday markets. These markets are great places to shop for unique Christmas gifts, or just to “window shop!” Everything from Christmas ornaments to loose-leaf teas are sold, and there are markets around the city, including in Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and Union Square.

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2.) Visit an Instagram-famous bakery. If you have an Instagram or Facebook, you’ve definitely seen those Insider videos of delicious-looking baked goods, oozing with cream or dripping with chocolate. There are numerous “Instagram-famous” bakeries across New York City, and it’s definitely worth it to visit one of them. My favorite bakery is Bibble and Sip, and here, you definitely don’t have to feel embarrassed about taking multiple pictures of your food at different angles; every time I go to Bible and Sip, there are always people attempting artsy photos of their food. My favorite dessert from Bibble and Sip is the matcha cream puff. It is a must-try!!

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Portuguese Egg Tart, Earl Grey Cream Puff, and Matcha Cream Puff (my favorite!)

 

3.) Watch a Broadway Show. Bibble and Sip is conveniently located 10 minutes walk away from Columbus Circle, and 5 minutes away from Broadway theaters, so definitely make this list of things to do in NYC into an itinerary! New York is THE place to go for amazing Broadway shows. My favorite show is definitely “Wicked,” but I’ve also really enjoyed watching “Phantom of the Opera,” and I hear “Les Miserables” is wonderful as well.

4.) Eat a sit-down meal. No trip to NYC would be complete without having a sit-down meal in the city full of the best restaurants in the country. Recently, I took a trip to Blue Ribbon Sushi (best sushi I’ve ever tasted!), Ippudo, and Pure Thai Cookhouse (amazing prices!).

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Pure Thai Cookhouse

So, there you have it, my favorite things to do in NYC during the holidays!

What restaurant/bakery are you dying to try in NYC?

Love,

Serena

NYC Current Favorites

NYC Current Favorites

New York City has so many amazing food destinations and every time I go, I always plan the trip around the food! Yeah, just being the foodie that I am 🙂

SO here are the destinations that I’ve recently visited and recommend!

1.) Bibble and Sip


You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of creamy matcha lattes and giant oozing cream puffs. This place is definitely definitely worth the hype.


I had a matcha cream puff, earl grey cream puff, and a bite of the brûlée egg tart. They cream puffs were so good that we had to take one home, along with a black sesame croissant. The matcha cream puff was my favorite! The cream had just the right amount of matcha flavor and it wasn’t too sweet. The outside puff part was crispy and match-y. And then there’s the price. At $3.50 a cream puff, the cost is insanely cheap, especially for a super popular NYC cafe. This is the place that I recommend everyone take a trip to! It’s right in between Time Square and Columbus Square, so it is very conveniently located if you want to visit all the major touristy areas.


Next time I come, I’m definitely ordering a Lavender Latte. I hear it’s amazing as well!

2.) Hangawi


Hangawi is a Korean restaurant that serves only vegetarian food, and I had been eyeing this restaurant for a while because of its outstanding reviews on Yelp and Zagat. So for my birthday recently, I finally got to try the food here with my friends and it was so yummy 🙂 And while the food is not completely authentic Korean, it still tastes super good. Even my friends completely adverse to vegetarian food enjoyed the dishes.


I had a tofu stone bowl rice with sesame leaves, which was savory and delicious. I loved the flavorful tofu scramble, over the hot bed of rice.

3.) Beyond Sushi

   This sushi joint serves vegan and vegetarian sushi, and I tried the spicy mango roll and the mighty mushroom roll. The mushroom was by far my favorite, and it could be just because of my obsession with mushrooms, but mushrooms in sushi?! Mmm it was delicious! I love meaty vegetables 🙂

4.) By Chloe

You’ve probably also heard of this vegetarian/vegan restaurant that serves amazing meatless burgers. (You probably notice by now that I love going to vegetarian/vegan eateries)

This place is great. And really aesthetically pleasing-I went to the one near Flatiron.

First of all, the fridge is IDEAL. There’s chia puddings, fruit, plenty of kombucha, juice, and other goodies.

Then the actual food. I ordered a classic burger and it was so savory and tasted so much more satisfying than a regular veggie burger! The patty- a TEMPEH-LENTIL-CHIA-WALNUT PATTY- tasted so much like meat it was amazing 😍definitely looking forward to going again soon!!

Yes that’s the same picture from our Instagram 🙂

Now that I’ve shared my current NYC favorites, what are your’s? Recommendations in the comments will be much appreciated 🙂

Love,

Serena

Relax & Refresh

Relax & Refresh

Sometimes, you just need a couple hours to yourself. School or work might have been overwhelming, you might have issues occurring in your relationships, or maybe you just had a grueling week and want to reward yourself. Regardless, in my experience, relaxing and refreshing can be very effective in productivity and feeling a sense of well being. Here are some of the things that I have done in the past to pamper myself!

1.) Hike or take a walk in nature. Even sitting in nature and taking it all in clears my head and makes me feel better.

Views from an awesome hike
Acai Pomegranate Bubble tea

2.) Go out to eat. Yes, sometimes food can be a wonderful reward! This past weekend, I went to a restaurant called Asian Bistro to have delicious hot stone bibimbap, and then I also had lunch at a Japanese restaurant where I had avocado sushi. For snack, I got myself a raisin croissant and an acai pomegranate bubble tea. Everything was so delicious and I felt so happy afterwards!

Vegetarian bibimbap

3.) Go on a run. I’m not a big runner (especially compared to Stephanie), but running helps me “run off my stresses” and “run away from my problems”!

Views from a recent run
Custard pudding- almondy and delicious!

4.) Cook and try out a new recipe. My friend and I made egg custards together, and we had an amazing time bonding and cooking. Even if you’re cooking by yourself (as I often am), cooking is a great way to relax. Seeing and eating the final product gives me an amazing feeling. See my first ever blog post on Why I Love to Cook 🙂

5.) Hang out with your family and/or friends. Whether it’s playing board games together, watching a movie, walking around town, or just talking, being with other people makes me feel happier.

6.) Take a long shower, put on a face mask, and listen to music. Your skin will thank you and you’ll feel super refreshed!

7.) Take a half-day trip by visiting a farm, going to the city (if there’s a city near you), visiting a museum, going to a flea market, or something else.

Farm trip
KALE Heaven

8.) Try something thrilling-like white-water kayaking, or rock climbing 🙂

9.) Take a nap-cause sleep is amazing and I can never get enough of it!

Now that I’ve shared my tips, I hope you feel super inspired.

In the words of my mom: “Work hard, play hard!”

Love,

Serena

Eating Smart with a Busy Schedule

Eating Smart with a Busy Schedule

It’s been a couple weeks since school started, and I’m already experiencing the stresses of classes. The amount of homework, tests, and papers is overwhelming, and it’s difficult to maintain healthy eating habits. The thing that hurts me the most is definitely midnight smacking. Admittedly, food can be my way of relieving stress-at least temporarily. 

But here are some of the ways that have helped me avoid midnight snacking:

1. Log your eating habits. It feels satisfying to look at a log that you’re proud of, so less snacks=accomplishment!

2. Study in an area that prevents you from accessing the food easily. For example, a room on another floor with the door locked. Believe it or not, the various motions you have to do to get to the food might just take long enough for you to dissuade yourself from eating.

3. Brush your teeth before studying! You won’t be tempted to eat because 1, you would have to brush your teeth again which is annoying, and 2, when you’re (finally) done with homework for the night, you can go to sleep right away rather than wasting time in the bathroom. This is definitely the best tip that I can give because it has helped me SO MANY TIMES! 

Ok, I hope those tips helped! What is your method for reducing the temptation of midnight snacking?

Love,

Serena

Canada Part 3: Montreal and Quebec City

Canada Part 3: Montreal and Quebec City

Check out Canada Part 1 and Canada Part 2!

Montreal offers many attractions, and my family and I visited the most famous ones:the Notre Dame Basilicca, Jean Talon Market, and Mont Royal.

Notre Dame Basilicca: where Celine Dion got married!
A yummy dessert in the Jean Talon Market
Views from Mont Royal
 

Our first stop was Mont Royal, a park that is often compared to Central Park in New York for its location in an urban area, and it’s beauty. My family and I walked around the park for a couple of hours, and it was definitely a workout! There were numerous people running up and down the countless steps of the park. It’s a great place for marathon training!

We only spent one day in Montreal, I wish we could’ve walked around longer at the Jean Talon Market! There were numerous fruit and veggie stands with loads of samples. I couldn’t get enough of them!
Next, we drove a couple hours north to Quebec  City. 

We had dinner at the Table restaurant. 


I had a salmon tartare, which tasted amazing because I love raw salmon! I also ordered an arugula salad with raw tuna, potatoes, green beans, and olives. There was too much tuna for the amount of arugula! Also, the addition of the potatoes, green beans, and olives didn’t really fit. I also tried a bit of poutine, a dish that Montreal is famous for. Essentially, poutine is fries with gravy and cheese curds. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I didn’t think the poutine tasted very special. Maybe I just went to the wrong place to try it.

We spent the rest of the night strolling around Old Quebec, and we took pictures of the elegant and gargantuan Chateau Fromtenac, a grand hotel that was named a national historic site.

Plains of Abraham (Battlefields Park)
Views from the Plains of Abraham

The Old City stole my heart, it was breathtaking, and my family decided to stay another night in the beautiful city.

More on Quebec City coming soon in Canada Part 4!

Love,

Serena

Canada Part 2: Byward Market in Ottawa, Ontario

Canada Part 2: Byward Market in Ottawa, Ontario

Canada Part 1: Green Door Restaurant in Ottawa

Canada boasts numerous specialty food markets, and the first one I visited was Byward Market in Ottawa, Ontario.

One of the shops along the market that caught my eye was a cute fruit store that sold some mini fruit.

“Buddha’s Hand”
Mini pineapple!
Fruit Heaven and they’re all on sale 🙂

I also visited Moulin De Provence, a bakery that is famous for it’s Obama cookies. The story goes that Obama ate a maple leaf shaped shortbread cookie at the bakery, and exclaimed, “I love this cookie!” The cookies now symbolize a new relationship between the US and Canada.


Aside from the Obama cookies, they offer tons of other spectacular-looking pastries!

Fresh baked bread. Yum!


I wish I could’ve tried the pastries, but I only had American dollars, and the bakery doesn’t accept the exchange rate. My heart was broken and my family and I went to the bank immediately after!

Watch out for Canada Part 3 tomorrow!

Love,

Serena