Now that it FINALLY is starting to feel chilly, it's so nice to have some reminder of the outdoors, inside. Plus, houseplants clean the air, and just make you feel good.
Crest Hardware's Urban Garden Center in Williamsburg, near the Lorimer L Train stop, is fab. Beside the hardware store, there is a 5,000 square foot garden filled with all sorts of indoor and outdoor plants, soil, pots. And the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. So are their store pets-Franklin the pig, or the African grey parrot. All true!
Another must is the Chelsea Garden Center, with locations in both Williamsburg and Red Hook. An enormous oasis that is sure to have everything you could need for adding beauty and freshness to your apartment. Unlike Crest Hardware, the Chelsea Garden Center also offers and array of delivery + design services for those who are getting super serious-they even do custom decking, patio, and stone services. And why not?
Now that you have your plants, how to pot them?
Here are our favorites indoor house plant pot options:
Gilded Planters from Anthropologie, starting at only $6
Modern, geometric table and hanging planters from CB2 starting at $3.99 on sale
and of course, Etsy, where artisans and creators worldwide make unique ceramic pottery, including one of our favorites-80s inspired looks by TanyaDoody starting at around $35 plus shipping.
Wow. The presidential election...Leonard Cohen...What a seriously heavy, tumultuous, confusing week.
New York City, as we all know, can be an exciting place that feels non-stop. And it is, in many ways. But there are plenty of places to breathe, enjoy, relax, and contemplate.
Here are our recommendations for a calming, illuminating November.
Attend The Big Quiet-"Massive Meditations for Modern People." These fun events are held in unique venues all over the city - they include music, meditation, delicious food and drinks, and beautiful people. Organized by Medi Club, a monthly meditation gathering started by Jesse Isreal, an entrepreneur and regular meditator whose mission is to bring New Yorkers together for an inclusive and energetic series of meditations all over the city.
SOUND AND LIGHT ENVIRONMENT IN TRIBECA
The Dream House is a townhouse-turned-art space in Tribeca, now in its 24th season. Each exhibit is experimental, interactive, and immersive. And rumor has it that the rooms are acoustically perfect.
(This is also a great place for a romantic and impressively different date!)
LISTEN TO OTHERS
Check out a fabulous talk at the 92nd Street Y. What a vast array of world-class authors, actors, filmmakers, artists, musicians, scientists and more, giving intimate, informative talks at one of New York City's iconic cultural institutions. And for very reasonable prices! For $38 you can check out journalist Bob Woodward and founder of the Washington Speakers Bureau Bernie Swain give a lecture entitled "After the Election, Now What: American's Future, and Lessons of Leadership."
Yeah, what's next?? That's what we'd like to know.
Let's face it. Moving to New York City and becoming an 'adult' can be very exciting...but one of the challenges is continuing to meet interesting people, in organic ways, and continue to make quality friends when you leave the cocoon of childhood, college, your hometown, etc.
We are here to help!
Check out these awesome opportunities that we've personally tested, and which have our complete seal of approval.
SIX DEGREES SOCIETY
Our dear friend Emily Merrill started a brilliant company, (mainly women-centric), but there are also many co-ed events. She creates evenings that are personal and interesting-every one we've gone too, we've met people that have helped us in our business and lives, and in unexpected ways. Just last night we met a professional artist/mural painter who is going to paint a beautiful mural for us outside of Darling!
Emily also hosts fun events like oyster shucking, wine + cheese pairings, headshot photography sessions, SEO workshops...but again, her greatest strength is the quality of people she is able to pull together each and every time. Go get 'em!
This group is SO. MUCH. UNEXPECTED. FUN. Most people these days don't generally think of classical music when they think of exciting, new things to try in the city. Lincoln Center / NY Philharmonic can seem intimidating or out of reach, or just not your average weekend radar. But chamber music at its core has always been an intimate and fun way for people to enjoy music in group settings, and in unique spaces. Groupmuse makes it so easy and special to enjoy this beautiful art form, and also to meet great people (and drink each others' wine-its BYO).
Basically hosts can sign up for musicians to come into their apartments or workplaces, and the host lets Groupmuse know how many guests can fit. Groupmuse will send talented musicians and guests, (you can also invite your friends), and then...just let the magic happen!
Who doesn't want to learn how to make fresh cavatelli, go deep into the art of Japanese joinery, or one of our personal favorites, get wild with aerial silks. Trust us, your friends and lovers will be VERY impressed when you are twisting and twirling beautifully, while hanging from a 30" warehouse ceiling in Bushwick....(and your hot, muscular new abs will be thanking you as well).
Overwhelmed by all the podcasts out there? So are we!
What an amazing genre in that it's a true Wild Wild West free-for-all, but that also makes it difficult to narrow down the overwhelming options.
A friend once said to me "never waste a moment of consciousness" and now when I'm cleaning my apartment or walking around the city, I am reminded of that opportunity to always be learning something new.
Here are Darling's recommendations for learning, laughing, or just letting your mind wander into exciting new territory.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP + BUSINESS: How I Built This
NPR's new podcast, How I Built This is SO good!! I'd go as far as to say it's addictive... Host Guy Raz interviews the founders of some of our era's most beloved, ubiquitous companies such as AirBnb, Instagram, Vice, and Clif Bar.
The listener finds out the truly unique, inspirational, and often unbelievable circumstances under which these companies were founded. Besides being really mind-opening, it also makes you want to get out of your chair as soon as it's over and start the world's next game-changing company. You can do it!
STORIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE: Beautiful/Anonymous
Chris Gethard's Beautiful/Anonymous is a beautiful experiment in human interaction. Sometimes it's wildly successful, other times it falls flat, but that's all part of the fun. It's almost like Russian Roulette, but nobody dies. At least not on air.
Basically, an anonymous caller dials the host, and only the caller can hang up (if they want to), but the host must stay on the call for the full hour. There is no agenda other than just talking. That's it. And whatever comes up is fair game. Gethard has a knack for going pretty deep, almost like a comedian therapist-but always respectful of the guest. Often an unexpected journey takes place and it's both terrifying and fascinating to follow along.
CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS: Here's the Thing
Is there ANYTHING Alec Baldwin can't do well? Here's the Thing w/ Alec Baldwin. It's not new but it's a classic, good one. He's smart, hilarious, perceptive and seems to be besties with every famous person in the world. Listening is like getting to hang out with two of the coolest people ever. Pure fun, yet also can get a little more gritty and real than you expect.
DESIGN: 99% Invisible
Ever wonder who invented the shopping mall, and why? Or who decides that this season's color is "Spearmint"? Host Roman Mars uncovers these, and countless other, intriguing mysteries in 99% Invisible. Aptly titled because the theme seems to be all the things we see and use and participate in every day, but aren't always aware of how they came to be. Mars parts the curtains for us in a charming, entertaining style.
NEWS: World Story of the Day
Another one from NPR, of course. World Story of the Day is the perfect bite size chunk of important, interesting, relevant news and perfect if you only have a few minute walk to the subway or while you're standing in line to pick up your dry cleaning. In a few short minutes I've been made aware of many stories I'd surely have missed otherwise. Topics range from local to international news, and can be listened to in rapid fire succession to get caught up.
Now that fall has finally fallen, is everyone hitting the 'go button' as hard as we are??
Guilty summer pleasures (of which there were countless!) have drifted into the much needed, adrenaline filled 'gotta make it happen' phase of the year.
Here are our suggestions to get you through an all-nighter:
Music: The North Borders album, by Bonobo. It's energetic yet also peaceful, and doesn't distract from the task at hand. Here is the Spotify link.
Sweet Treats: Aux Merveilleux de Fred. O.M.G.!! These light, fluffy, dollops of goodness are meringue-like (yet totally UNlike) anything you've ever tried. And tonight we overheard the owner mentioning they might be opening another shop in NYC-you heard it here first! YUM.
Coziness: Trust us, if you are going to invest in a sweater this year, make the it the Yulia sweater dress by Demy Lee. It is out of this world. So soft, so comfortable, so pyjama-like which makes it perfect for a good study/work session-yet at the same time kind of that cozy/sexy/elegant look. In fact once you're finally done working, you could throw on a pair of chunky booties, like these awesome Althea Denim Boots by Acne Studios (crushing on these kinds of beautiful treasures are exactly WHY we have to work so hard $$!)... and go out and celebrate that you're finally done working!
Goodnight, Darlings :) Time for bed...
Kids. Listen up. We have found the BEST cappuccino and pastries (and the best part is they around the corner from our apartments!) But we would travel far and wide if we had to.
Check out the cafe at Lilia. So yummy! The cappuccino is strong, flavorful, rich. (And they don't ask what size you want, which is the first and most basic mark of a place that knows what they are doing! Cappuccino is cappuccino, period. The ratios matter and it shouldn't come in different sizes, unless you're ordering one from Starbucks which you probably should not be doing...)
Now let's talk about the pastries at Lilia. Wow. Really unique, and not too sweet which is appreciated. Our favorites are the brioche, which is filled with fresh whipped cream and absolutely melts in your mouth. And another favorite is the sweet focaccia with plums and fennel. (Toppings change seasonally). The dough is tangy, soft inside and ever so slightly crunchy outside, and the toppings are baked and just a touch caramelized.
Treat yo'self. (Sorry that was really cheesy). But seriously. Treat yo'self.
Whew! Had to write this post in 2 sections cause there is just SO much to explore in Iceland!
After a delightful couple of days in Reykjavic, it was time to hit the road. There seems to be a big online debate about whether it's necessary to rent an SUV or not, and we are SO glad we did. No exaggeration, in order to get to one of the hikes, we had to cross about 14 streams which were quite deep and without an SUV we would have been both literally and figuratively totally STUCK IN THE MUD. Got a great deal from Dollar car rental in Reykjavic.
Our first stop was to the Hveragerdi Hot Spring River Hike which was like nothing else! Wild sheep roaming among bubbling hot brooks and green rolling hills. Pure magic. And you can even swim in the river! We did see a few people skinny dipping and then a few sheep came over and shit on their clothing. Sorry to be graphic, but it's what happened. And it was both hilarious and sad of course.
After our hike we stopped by a 'secret lagoon' called Gamla Laugin. Did I mention swimming is a big deal in Iceland?? Yes. This one was super nice, felt very private, and they had a nice snack bar in front with cold beer (and a very handsome guy working the counter.)
Last stop was our hostel, which was amazing! It is located in an old high school and it felt like a slumber party at school. We even got to raid the kitchen at night. Highly recommended.
Next day was more touristy and less hike-y but even tourist attractions along the Ring Road are phenomenal. We did the must sees : Geysir and Gulfoss. DO BOTH. Then we did another beautiful hike at Pingvellir National Park. It was so pretty, and we picked wild bilberries and drank from cool pools.
Third day we did another intense nature day, exploring Landmannalaugar national park, specifically the Laugavegur trail. Most people spend at least 3-4 days hiking this trail but since we only had one day, we turned around after a few hours. It was hard to turn around because the view of the rainbow colored mountains were out of this world. But we are grateful we got to see any of it at all!!
At night we went to the Black Sand Beach at Vik. Don't even have words. You will swear you are dreaming. But you are not. You are ALIVE. And it's experiences like this that make it meaningful.
Last tip: Get lots of groceries and water to put in the car. You can drink the water in nature during your hikes, but in the car between, you'll want it. Food is expensive in Iceland, and it's not really what you are going for anyway.
Ladies and gentleman, if you've never been to Iceland, don't wait another minute!! First of all, Iceland Air allows a free week stopover if you go anywhere else in Europe, making it a killer deal.
We'll admit, a week in Iceland is pretty short and given how much intense nature and there is to discover, next time we'd like to spend at least three weeks. That said, there's plenty to do!
First stop was Reykjavik, the capital, which is even smaller than we realized. We linked up with a group of couch surfers and it was such a great way to get some good tips from other travelers! Here is the group we met.
Beer is super expensive in Iceland so hitting happy hour is a must. One of the best discoveries during the pub crawl was a live podcast being taped in the back room of a bar, called "Icetralia". These guys are smart, funny, and NOT shy when it comes to discussing, most of all, sex in both Iceland and Australia.
Stayed with the lovely Iris and Fabien using AirBnb. It was a great location, and near one of the city pools which are fun and very traditionally Icelandic. In fact, swimming in Iceland is a major theme.
Also took a fab walking tour of Reykjavik with an adorable tour guide, and it was donation based which was great, so check it out here.
Visited the Blue Lagoon which is touristy but beautiful and a must do. And it's right by the airport so it's worth doing before getting into town, actually...and book ahead online, otherwise you might not get a spot! They are quite limited.
It's been a while since we've posted, but that's because summer in New York City is just so much fun! Who has time for computers...But here we are and we want to share. A few weeks ago we attended an amazing, 24 hour music festival in Red Hook, Brooklyn called the Ragas Live Festival, put on by Pioneer Works and Brooklyn Raga Massive.
To quote the Pioneer Works website "Roughly meaning “color the mind”, raga are musical modes or essences from the Indian Classical Music tradition. The festival will bring together more than 70 musicians for a 24 hour cycle that will reflect the unique characteristic of ragas in which performances are assigned to definite times of the day and night."
We stayed all 24 hours and it was absolutely magical watching the moon rise, the sun rise, and everything in between, all the while experiencing such incredible music. There were carpets and pillows inside where we could half-sleep/half-dream while listening, or we could leisurely roam around, enjoy a cold beer outside (much needed at times due to the thick NY Summer heat), or just take a moment and stroll outside.
This will certainly be a yearly tradition!
(Side note, if you are in Red Hook, make sure to visit the Red Hook Lobster Pound. It was yummy!)
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just returned from Lisbon, Portugal and it is outrageously beautiful, fun, delicious and delightful! Wow, feeling very fortunate! And not only that but we return to beautiful weather in New York. But, back to Portugal.
Had an inspirational journey that covered everything from modern art at the Berardo Museum, which is entirely free and funded by a billionaire philanthropist (thank you!). to learning about the history of the marionette at the Marionette museum, and probably even more important than museums in Lisbon, let's be honest, is the SUN, FOOD, WINE, and PEOPLE.
We hit the beautiful beach in Cascais, walked the city soaking up the architecture, and stopped for a delicious glass of Portuguese wine and a fresh seafood appetizer any chance we got. YUM.