Dec
11

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Boulton & Watt Does The Best Lunch Special In The City

Living the freelance life, it’s always a nice treat to leave the house during the day and find “office space” elsewhere.  While the coffee shops are great, they’re pretty much filled to the brim with other freelancers with the same idea.  So when I stumbled across an industrial gem on the Lower East Side that offered free Wi-Fi, a Restoration Hardware-esque vibe, AND an incredible lunch special I had to go in.  Boulton & Watt, my friends, is now where you can find me and my laptop.

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Located on the corner of Houston and Avenue A, the restaurant is a prime spot for classic NYC people watching–hipsters, construction workers, dogs (oh, the dogs!), artists, professionals, the occasional vagabond…you know, all the people that make NYC so special.

The lunch special at Boulton & Watt is a signature Boulton Burger, a jar of pickles, fries, and a draft beer all for $15.  The pickles aren’t your mama’s pickles from the jar in her fridge though.  Oh no.  They are innovative, fresh spins in the pickling industry.  I had a jar of pickled pineapple with habanero, mint and basil and my tastebuds were doing a little happy dance, it was seriously that tasty.  I’m stoked to go back to try a few of the other tempting combos: beets with peppercorns and red wine vinegar and the jicama with grapefruit, ginger chili and lime.  Even speaking the names has me salivating just a bit, okay, a lot.

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For the main course I went with the veggie burger (cause vegetarian;-), which was chickpea, eggplant, kale, topped with tzatziki on a seven grain bun.  I polished it off, the whole entire thing, it was THAT good (proof below!)  Seriously had to take an hour walk around the LES afterwards just to be like “yes, tastebuds, I appeased you with the entire patty of veggie amazement.  stomach, I’m so sorry, you’ll be digested soon.”  I mean, the fact that I gobbled up the shoestring fries salted and seasoned to perfection probably didn’t help my case, but you know.  All in the name of good food.

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Oh!  Less I forget…the beer!  I asked my waiter to recommend the lightest beer they have, that doesn’t have a super strong beer taste (what can I say, I’m a wine girl!)  He suggested a Smuttynose Pilsner (how could I say no to that name?!), and guys!  Besides cider (which isn’t REALLY beer, I know), it was the first beer I ever drank that I really enjoyed!  High five for the beer pairing!

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I know you’re thinking, “Jess, did you actually get any work done during your ‘working lunch’ or just stuff your face the whole time?”  Valid question.  Thanks to the restaurant’s abundance of outlets and natural light (working essentials, duh), I totally did.  Working lunch for the win!

You can grab this special weekdays from 12pm to 4pm.  If you see a blond girl with her laptop in the corner stuffing her face with the veggie burger, come say hi.  It’s me:-)

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen

 This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Dec
10

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Used York City Is Featured On HotelClub!

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We were super excited to be chosen as a NYC local expert by the folks at HotelClub, a global online travel community dedicated to giving their members a more rewarding travel experience (something we vagabonds can totally get down with!)  We shared with them some of our top tips on the best places to dine, sleep, play, shop and be pampered for the ultimate luxury New York experience.

You can read the article in its entirety here.  Enjoy!

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xo,

Jess

Dec
9

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5 Tips For Being An Awesome NYC Hostess

Last week we hashed out the 5 commandments 5 gracious tips to remember if you’re staying in someone’s home as a guest in NYC.  I thought it only fair that we come full circle on the topic and set some guidelines for being a rockstar hostess as well.

Here’s my tips for being known all around the world Manhattan as the hostess with the mostess!

1. Stock Up On Food/Snacks Your Guest Will Enjoy

If your grocery shopping regime is anything like mine, chances are you may only have exactly enough food in your fridge and cabinets for what you plan to eat for the week (or less!), cause space!  Besides my bag of almonds I’m pretty guilty of not having stuff for noshing on around the house, which is totally ok when it’s just the hubs and I, but not cool for guests.

Before you run off and start stocking up on Doritos and Dr. Pepper, take into account what your guests enjoy.  Do they have any dietary restrictions (gluten, dairy, vegetarian, vegan?)  Are they a health food nut or not so much?  Do they prefer sweet or salty snacks?  Coffee or tea?  Regular or decaf?  Asking your guest ahead of time will ensure you stock up on the right stuff they’ll actually enjoy.

Also, make it very clear that your guest is free to help themselves to anything they find, anytime (now is the time to hide that expensive bottle of wine!;-)  This takes out any of the awkwardness of the 2am munchies.

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2. Wi-Fi Password

Pretty self explanatory.  Much like it’s the first thing I ask for when checking into a hotel, it’s probably one of the first things your guest will want to know, too.  Make it easy by jotting it down ahead of time…(or be ridiculously cute and make one of these little signs…!)

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3. Bathroom + Sleeping Essentials (i.e. THE PLUNGER)

Yes, the obvious things such as shampoo and towels, but also the not so obvious things that come in REALLY handy when the situation calls: contact lens solution and a case, toothpaste, tampons, Advil, extra toilet paper, and a plunger.  In order to avoid any awkward situations for your guest, maybe just have it out by the toilet, just in case;-)

And for sleeping accommodations, do your best to make your guest feel as welcome and comfy as possible, even if they are only crashing on your couch.  Also, if they are staying in the middle of the living room, make it clear what you would like for them to do with the air mattress/couch during the day…is it ok to leave it set up for the weekend or would you prefer blankets and pillows folded and out of sight each morning?  I’ve found for me this is one of the most stressful things about hosting…having suitcases/sleepware/and just STUFF all over the living room for days at a time feels a bit chaotic, so I prefer it to go in the bedroom during the day so the living space is still enjoyable.

4. Plan Some Activities

Chat with them ahead of time and see what they would like to do/see throughout their trip/weekend with you, and then plan accordingly.  Restaurant rezzies fill up fast, and the cheap show tickets sell out quickly!  Planing activities ahead of time will not only save a lot of stress day of, but will also allow your guest to see a flow of the weekend: i.e. maybe they can expect to hang out with you Saturday morning for breakfast, then go off by themselves for the afternoon to explore the MET, and then reconvene with you in the evening for a show.  This also ensures that you as a hostess has time to get your errands/r&r caught up on.

5. Transportation Issues

One problem that is a bit unique to NYC (and other large cities too, I imagine) is that since most of us don’t have cars, it’s a bit dodgy trying to arrange for pickup/drop-off from airports/train/bus stations.  If your guest is a seasoned visitor, this clearly won’t be such an issue, but if they are new to the city, you want to do your best to make this part as pain-free as possible.  

Give them options: Would you be willing to meet them at the airport/station?  Would they want to take a cab (also provide an estimate of the cost of this so they’re prepared)?  Would they be comfortable giving public transportation a try (provide DETAILED directions in this case)?  If they are driving into the city, is there street parking by your apartment or would they be better off at a garage (and again, give them an idea of how much this will cost)?

During the duration of their stay, I think you get extra karma points for letting them use your unlimited Metrocard if you have one, just saying:-)

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What are your tips for being the hostess with the mostess in NYC?  Share below!

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen

Photo Credit: 1/2/3

Dec
8

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The Easiest Hair Ties For The NYC Gym Bunny

Today I’m sharing the easiest DIY you will ever come across, promise.  And super useful, to boot!  Drumroll, please…

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These cutie-patootie hair ties!  I’ve seen them in stores like Anthropologie for a while now (and yes, am guilty of spending $12 for 4 of them, gah), and think they are the sweetest.  They add a fun pop of color to your pony, and are a nice way to mix things up from the normal black elastic that usually holds them up.

I think they’re pretty perfect for any girl who loves her barre/pilates/yoga/cross-fit classes, but also super practical for the gal that just wants to throw her hair up while watching How I Met Your Mother reruns!  Also great stocking stuffer for the littles!  Bonus: you can create a TON of these for gifts for less than the amount you would pay for one set at Anthro.

Supplies

-fold over Elastic

-scissors

-cardstock to package them on

Instructions

1. Put a piece of elastic ribbon around your wrist and add about 2 inches onto the ends.  Snip.

2. Tie in a knot.

3. Slide them onto the cardstock for display/packaging.

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See?  I told you it was the easiest thing, ever!  Happy crafting!

xo,

Jess

Dec
7

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Holiday Gift Guide For The Guys

Maybe it’s because men don’t have as much selection as women, but because of that I’ve always found it a bit easier to choose gifts for the guys…less chance to get it wrong?  (I mean, unless my hubby has just been rocking the chihuahua shirt I gave him last Christmas so I don’t feel bad?  Entirely possible:-)

Quirky chichi shirts aside, here’s 10 go-to gifts for the men that you can’t go too wrong with.  I mean, what guy wouldn’t love a funky pair of argyle socks?!

So guys…what’s on your wish list this year?  Share below!

xo,

Jess