Jan
8

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Ralph’s Coffee: A Hidden Coffeeshop Gem In Central Midtown

I was checking out post holiday sales on flannel at Ralph Lauren Polo this week when I stumbled upon the most unexpected little coffee shop tucked away on their second floor, Ralph’s Coffee.  Cute, right?!

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Coffee shops (other than Starbucks and super duper expensive hotel cafes) are hard to come by in the central midtown area, so this was a real treat to find.  I grabbed an oatmeal raisin cookie ($3) and a cup of joe ($3), and secured a spot by the window, watching snow flurries and 5th avenue hustle and bustle.  Besides being spacious, Ralph’s also offers free wi-fi and plenty of plugs to charge up your devices.

The inspiration for the cafe, from the inventor of preppy himself, goes as such: “The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories for me, mostly of times spent with friends and family, the people I love.  I wanted to develop these coffee blends in that spirit and create a place where people could come together and take a break from their busy days.”  Touche, Mr. Lauren.

Besides, I think we can all agree that coffee trumps flannel any day…at least for the wallet;-)

Have you found any foodie gems in your neighborhood lately?  Share below!

Jan
7

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UsedYorkCity Inspiration #15

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^^Squint real hard and you can see the first 2015 snow flurries in NYC!^^

1. Ever want to know where the oldest place to get a drink in your NYC neighborhood is?  (Of course you do!)  The results are all here, so bottoms up! (via I Quant NY)

2. Kind of obsessed with this NYC list of things that should be punched in the ear in 2015.  Anyone else with me regarding social media posting about 2 mile runs?! (via Thrillist)

3. This article talks about some off-the-beaten-path cupcake shops in the city I’m pretty excited to try out! (via Ahoy NY Food Tours)

4. A very simple and effective way to keep a curated closet of things you love and wear. (via A Beautiful Mess)

5. Peek inside the first permanent cat cafe in NYC…! (via Today)

What’s been inspiring you this week?

xo,

Jess

Jan
6

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Accidental Pervert + Giveaway

This contest has officially ended. A huge New York thank you to all who participated, and congrats to our winner, Wendy! Stay tuned for more exciting UsedYorkCity.com giveaways!

It’s our first giveaway of 2015, folks!  And we couldn’t have picked a funnier play for those free tickets, it’s true!  Here’s all the info:

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ACCIDENTAL PERVERT is the true accounting of one boy’s odyssey to manhood via a childhood dominated by pornography, an addiction accumulated after the boy happens upon his father’s collection of XXX-Rated video tapes in a bedroom closet, just to the right of his golf clubs, above the cowboy boots, behind the sweatshirts, all the way up in the top left hand corner.  Andrew Goffman takes his audience on a hilarious and self-deprecating journey into a world of video vixens, X-Rated fantasies, and really DIRTY movies with no redeeming value whatsoever.   He found the tapes at 11 years-of-age.  The addiction controlled him until he was 26.    THE YEAR HE MET HIS WIFE.

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Here’s how to enter:

1. Subscribe to Used York City, which signs you up for our monthly newsletter. (Don’t forget to respond to the verification message you are sent via email. Former subscribers are automatically entered!)

2. For a bonus entry, tag your favorite NYC moment of the week on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #UsedYorkCity.  We’ll repost our faves!;-)

Details:

The contest will run until Thursday, January 8th, at which time a winner will be randomly chosen and announced on this post and via Twitter, and the winner will be notified directly by the email address that they subscribed with! Best of luck to all our readers!

p.s. if you don’t win the tickets, here’s a code for discounted ticket prices: RRM29.

Jan
5

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Use Your City: Kristen’s Fort Collins

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While we at UsedYorkCity mostly write about NYC, because it’s what we know best, we are starting a new column where we reach out to people in cities around the world and find out what inspires them, and how they use their city, every single day.

First up is Kristen, an anthropology graduate student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Welcome to the blog, Kristen!

City Guide: Fort Collins, Colorado

How would you describe Fort Collins to someone who has never been?

The mecca of everything outdoorsy.  Dressing up means hiking boots, jeans, a beanie, and a flannel…tucked in.  Dogs can go everywhere people can go.  A girl in my grad school class actually brings her pooch to class with her.  Oh, and if you feel like you’re walking through Disney World in downtown FoCo’s (Fort Collins to the locals) old town, you’re not crazy.  Walt Disney actually designed Florida’s light display after a visit to our city.

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What are three words that define Fort Collins?

Flannel, beards, beer.

What makes someone a Fort Collinian?

You are a craft beer snob.

What is the one For Collins clothing essential?

Hiking boots.

Somewhere super touristy you still like to visit?

Rocky Mountain National Park.

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What’s the best way to get around the city? Bike, bus, car…

A total bike friendly city.

What is your city’s philosophy?

Every day is full of sunshine, so we take advantage of that and play as much (more?) than we work.

Describe an ideal day in Fort Collins.

Outdoors, always.  Pack your dog, tent, kids, and a 6 pack of craft beer and hike and camp in the mountains outside of the city.

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What hotel do you recommend to visiting friends?

Everyone here has a couch to crash on, no hotels necessary. 

What is your favorite place for…

A date night: Packing a picnic and hiking to Horsetooth.  Or a night at the drive in movie theater.  Way cheaper than normal theaters, and great for snuggling.

A dinner with friends: Pickle Barrel 

Working: Alley Cat Coffee House

People watching: City Park

Shopping: REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated)

Your coffee shop: Alley Cat Coffee House, it’s open 24/7.  Order their Red Eye Cat…chai tea with espresso in it that tastes like a gingerbread cookie.  Amazeballs.

Your local bar: The Mayor, they have over 100 beers on tap and the best pretzel you’ll ever eat in your entire life.  Or for a classy bar, check out The Social.  It’s quiet and everyone is dressed in 1920’s garb.  A delicious dirty gin martini to boot.  Oh, and a lavender sour.  Bliss.

Your park: City Park, or Edora which has a frisbee golf course (yes, that’s a real thing), baseball fields, skate park, indoor ice-rink and swimming pools.

Describe your perfect Fort Collins weekend…

A backpacking adventure followed by a Bronco Sunday.

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What is one souvenir to bring back from Fort Collins? 

La Folie beer.  It’s sour and a local delight.

Okay, now some really hard questions…

Skiing or sledding? Skiing

Hiking or snowshoeing? Both equally amazing, just depends on the season.

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Wool or down jackets? Down, but layers and layers of fleece underneath.

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Booze or (legal) marijuana? Booze.  But I’m not a pot smoker so maybe not the best person to ask this question;-)

Winter or summer? Every season has it’s perks, impossible to choose.

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

Jan
2

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A Happy, Habit-Filled New Year

Happiest 2015!  It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it!  New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing…there’s some that are so easily accomplished and others that are remade year after year to no avail.  One of the joys of blogging is being able to look back over the years and see what worked (yay!) and what was an epic fail (boo!)  

unnamed-10In 2012, one of my victories was completing a Toughmudder (Jess for the win!), and one of my unresolved resolutions was mastering a new language (Jess for the fail!)…something I’m still trying to do three years later!

It makes you get to thinking why some things are easier to stick to than others, right?  In order to answer this question, I turned to the guru of resolutions, Gretchen Rubin (also one of my favorite bloggers and authors, she’s the best!)

Gretchen talks a lot about habits on her blog (also the topic of her upcoming book.)  She has this pretty wonderful thing called The Habits Manifesto.  Here it is:

You manage what you monitor.

You’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.

First things first.

Everything counts.

By giving something up, you may gain.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

Self-regard isn’t selfish; when you give more to yourself, you can ask more from yourself.

Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.

There is no finish line.

Make sure that the things you do to feel better don’t make you feel worse.

Temporary often becomes permanent, and permanent often proves temporary.

You can’t make people change, but if you change, others may change.

This year, I plan to use this manifesto to really monitor my resolutions…making them more than just a 2015 goal, but an actual habit I put time and energy into daily.  In that regard, I’m going to keep it super simple with one resolution this year: to FINALLY learn that second language.  

For me, this is more than just the ability to say I speak several languages.  Because my husband is Bosnian, I really want to be able to speak with his family in their native tongue.  Simple as that.  So instead of spreading myself too thin this year (you know the expression…too little butter on too much bread!;-), I’m going to make a real habit of language acquisition.  And to hold myself (extra!) accountable, I’ll be posting once a month on the blog about my progress, sharing tips and tricks that are helpful along the way.

I’d love to know…do you have a New Year’s Resolution you’re hoping to turn into a regular habit this year?  Share below!

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen