Things To Do In NYC: Union Square/East Village


As you know, back in August I jetted off to NYC for a girl’s getaway. As you can imagine it was a great trip and I didn’t want to leave….

Since it was five of us and NYC can get pretty expensive with hotels, we booked an apartment through Airbnb. It was such a cute little apartment in between Union Square & East Village, so we had access to the subway & lots of restaurants/bars. It was a perfect location, not too touristy–away from the mob of people you find in the Times Square area. The apartment was on the first floor and we each paid a little less than $300 for the 4 nights we stayed there. Here is the listing on Airbnb if you are interested. We had a great host and I would definitively stay there again.

I fell in love with our little neighborhood in NYC. There were so much to do just in that area.

Here are some spots you have to check out if you are ever in the Union Square/East Village area.

The Penny Farthing
103 3rd Ave. (corner of 3rd Ave. & 13th St.)

My friends and I enjoyed drinks & dancing two of the nights we were in NYC at this cute bar/restaurant. It was super close to where we were staying and my one regret is not going to this place every single night. We sadly didn’t make it in for food. However, just by glancing at what people were eating as we walked by, it looked delicious (especially brunch). Even Richard Gere likes to lunch here.  So this is definitively a must–the atmosphere is great, friendly bartenders and management, no cover or dress code, great music!

Follow them on twitter @ThePennyNYC

McSorleys Old Ale House
15 East 7th Street

Established in 1854, this makes this saloon the oldest in NYC.  They only serve two types of beer: light or dark. My friend and I stopped in one evening and each ordered the light beer. We were surprised when we were each handed two glasses of beer. At first, we thought the bartender misunderstood us but then we noticed a sign that read 2 beers for $5.50.  I am not a beer drinker, usually I stick to cocktails…however the beer here was really tasty. We also noticed there were a lot of men at this establishment….so if you are looking to meet men you might want to try this place.

170 2nd Ave

I was missing my homemade glowing green smoothies, especially after a night of drinks. Luckily for me I found this great place on 11th & 2nd that sells cold-pressed juices.  Green smoothie + people watching in NYC= perfect start to my day!


Big Gay Ice Cream
125 East 7th St. (between 1st Ave. & Avenue A)

If you are looking for a nice cool treat then this is the place to try. It’s really close to Thompkins Park, so we each bought a Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate chip) and sat at a park bench to enjoy this delicious treat.

Papaya King
3 St. Marks Place

You can’t go to NYC and not have a hot dog, right? Forget the street carts, if you want a delicious NYC hot dog, you have to go here. After the ice cream, as we were walking back to our apartment we spotted the bright sign for Papaya King. We decided to go ahead and get a snack because why not? I ordered a hot dog with chili and jalapeños and my friend ordered some chili cheese fries. The jalapeños on the hot dog were diced, they looked almost like relish. And the chili resembled refried beans to me as in Texas our chili is more meaty. It was the perfect hot dog, and I devoured it right away. The fries were curly fries and were also super tasty. It was so good, we were back a few hours later with the rest of our friends who all agreed the hot dogs were pretty tasty.

I still find myself craving Papaya King hot dogs. I wish I had eaten a few more before flying back to Texas.

Café Orlin 
41 St. Marks Pl. (between 1st Ave. & 2nd Ave.)

If you are looking for a place to brunch at check this place out. We had brunch here on Saturday morning, and they were pretty packed. Luckily, we got a table right away. My friends all loved their meal, as did I. I think I had their breakfast sandwich.  My friends had the Eggs Blackstone and Eggs Benedict. Next time I want to try their french toast as it sounded really good.

Joe’s Pizza
150 East 14th St. (near corner of 14th & 3rd Ave.)

My first meal in NYC was a slice of pizza and a coke for $5. The pizza was delicious, and they had several from which to choose from. It was kind of hard to decide since they all looked so good. There were photos on the walls of celebs and the place was pretty tiny as you can imagine with only a few tables. It is known as one of the best places for pizza. It’s not to be missed if you are looking for an authentic slice of NYC pizza. Yum!


I hope you check these places out if you are ever in the East Village, or if you take a trip to NYC don’t miss out on this great neighborhood. I loved it and will definitively be back.





Throwback Thursday {NYC 2007}


Today, I wanted to share with you this photo of myself from Feb. 2007. My husband and I traveled to NYC to celebrate his birthday that year. It was super cold! I remember stopping at H&M and buying another smaller jacket to wear underneath because I was freezing. We kept running into Starbucks for coffee and to stay warm.

We stayed at a really cheap hotel near Bryant Park. I think it was the Americana Inn. The rooms were tiny, but we were out all day that it didn’t really matter.

I loved just walking down the streets watching New Yorkers go about their day. I remember thinking as I was walking past Bryant Park, that the people in NYC were so fashionable. Later, on my flight back, I realized it was fashion week. That explained why I had seen all these super fashionable people around Bryant Park. I remember Britney Spears was also in NYC  (this was when she was a bit unstable) and she had been spotted at a Rite Aid.

During this trip we did  a lot of touristy things. We had dinner (hubby’s birthday) at Carmine’s, visited the top of the Rock, went down to Little Italy & Chinatown, and of course enjoyed a hot dog. This is not something you see every day living in Dallas, hot dog carts lining the streets. Although, when I was a student at the University of North Texas, we did have one or two hot dog stands on campus. Which was great because I could grab a pretty cheap lunch in between classes. Plus, they had a variety to choose from. I wonder if they still have them.

All this reminiscing makes me want to go back to NYC (and to UNT). I was able to go back last year to celebrate my 30th birthday (thankfully it was in the summer=warmer weather), which I told you about in a previous post. I really want to go back this year with girlfriends. I think NYC would make for a fun girl’s trip!


Travel The World Tag


I saw this on LifeChangesii (Brittany’s blog) and thought this would be so much fun! So let’s get to it.


1. Where are you from in the world?

By birth-Mexico, but I grew up in the great state of Texas 🙂

2. Have you been overseas? When/Where?

Yes! I have been to Italy, France & España. In 2009, I traveled overseas for the first time to Rome. One of my favorite movies was Roman Holiday, so I wanted to see some of the same sights from the movie. During that trip, we also took side trips to Venice & Paris. Last year, I had the opportunity to go back to Paris for a family reunion. This time we drove through France and even got to see some of Spain, which I talked about in a previous post.

3. Do you prefer summer or winter? Why?

Summer, I hate the cold! I don’t know why but I feel the prettiest in summer. In the winter, I just have no motivation when it comes to fashion & beauty.

4. Summer or winter fashion?

Summer fashion because I get to wear skirts and dresses (and as unfashionable as they might be on occasion…flip flops).

5. Where is somewhere you would love to travel to?

Where do I not want to travel to? I really want to go to Hawaii….it looks so relaxing and beautiful. It’s funny because it wasn’t until I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall that I started wanting to go to Hawaii. Prior to that I wasn’t very interested in it. Maybe it’s because I am older and I just want to go somewhere where I could forget about everything and unwind while sipping on some cocktails.

6. Name your essential makeup items for the beach…

ChapStick®! I don’t really do makeup. And at the beach wouldn’t you want to go for a natural look?

7. Are you currently saving up for a trip?

Yes and no. I don’t have any huge trips planned. Just a few small ones. As for saving, I am not shopping as much…does that count?

8. Do you like/dislike traveling?

Love it! I wish I could do it more often.

9. Name a place in the world you would love to shop.

Paris…at places like Chanel and other chic boutiques throughout the city. I have to play the lottery more often so that I can afford that kind of shopping trip.

10. What accent in the world is your favorite to hear?

When I was in college, I watched a reality show called Outback Jack…so if I had to choose it would have to be the Australian accent. Although, I really love all accents.

Don’t forget to check out LifeChangesii to see what her answers were.

Now it’s your turn—comment so I can tag you!

Eat Well-Travel Often: France & Spain

When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of traveling. Growing up in a small town in Texas, I always wondered what life was like in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, the only traveling I did was through the books I read. When I was in high school, I took both French & German classes. That only intensified my desire to travel even more. I fell in love with the French language and culture. I found German to be a bit harder to learn, in fact I think I forgot most of the little I learned back in high school. However, I loved learning about the country nonetheless. I have yet to visit Germany, but it’s on my bucket list 🙂

I started 2013 off counting down the days until our family trip to France. The purpose of the trip was a family reunion in Le Mans in May. We spent two weeks in France, which gave us time to explore prior to and after the reunion. We decided to drive through Normandy & Brittany (Rouen, St. Malo, Mont St. Michel), down to Bordeaux, into Spain (San Sebastian & Pamploma), back up through Angoulême & Orléans and into Paris.

If you ever have the opportunity, please do see more than just lovely Paris. As majestic and wonderful as Paris is, there is just so much more to France. Take Le Mont St. Michel for example, it’s a gorgeous island on the north coast of France. Another must-see place would also have to be Saint Malo. You will want to stay within the old city walls, as we did at the Ibis Hotel. We ate at one of the restaurants just down the street from the hotel, great food & wine. Make sure to walk around the old city walls, check out the local farmers market, and of course spend some time at the beach.

The D-Day beaches and the WWII cemetery & memorial is another stop you will want to make while in France. An area with so much history. We have all read about D-Day, so why not see for yourself where it all took place.

If you love wine, then make your way to Bordeaux. The old city has wine bar after wine bar… after cozy wine bar. Which had we not had our two little ones with us, we would have surely taken advantage of. And I was wonderfully surprised with salsa dancing right there on the square. It looked like people were having tons of fun bailando salsa!

If you love architecture, then Rouen is the place for you. The city has plenty of monuments and Gothic churches for you to explore. Rouen is after all the city of a thousand steeples. We actually got a little lost because we forgot which of the churches was the one we were staying near. This is also the city where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431. Don’t worry, I think you’ll be safe. Make sure to pick up some of the delicious caramels, which the region is known for.

The family reunion took place in Le Mans. The actual city of Le Mans, I found to be quite diverse and modern. But do stop by the old city of Le Mans, where it looks like you have stepped back in time. It didn’t feel as touristy as other city-centres sometimes do. On our first day there, we had dinner with family on the outskirts of Le Mans. I actually don’t remember the name of the town, but as we drove to the cousins’ home, we went through several cute sleepy-French towns. If you take a look at my pictures, you can see how lovely the French countryside truly is. Everything just has a beauty to it, even something as boring as yogurt. If our yogurt came in these pretty glass jars, then more people would choose it rather than an unhealthy bag of chips.

España, la madre patria. 2013 was the first year I was able to visit her. We went to San Sebastian & Pamplona. No running with the bulls, but lots of sangria and yummy pintxos (tapas). Okay, maybe not that many. San Sebastian was gorgeous and we actually stayed at the hotel on the mountain (Mercure San Sebastian), which has a breathtaking view of the La Concha beach. {I loved loved the food!!}

I have already told you about my trip to NYC in August to celebrate my 30th birthday. So how did I wrap up 2013? With a road trip of course! We drove from Dallas to Saint Augustine in Florida. Did you know it’s the oldest city in our nation? The historic area reminded me a little of Europe. It had tiny shops & cafes, and a plaza of course. The beach was gorgeous of course.

My wish for everyone is more travel. I’ve always thought that if people traveled more (through books, planes, cars or even on foot to a neighbors home), there would be more understanding of cultures, religions, customs, ideas….more accepting of others overall.

What’s on your travel bucket list for this year? I want to go to so many places! I want to back to Colorado (Estes Park), Prince Edward Island (umm yes to see where Anne & Gilbert fell in love), Hawaii (to truly relax), and I really think a trip to Paris every year does the good!

How to Dress Like a Mademoiselle

Dress Like a Mademoiselle

Earlier this year, in May, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for a family reunion. We rented a car and drove through France, into Spain and back to France. We spent two weeks in Europe, and probably stayed at a different hotel every night, except for at the end of the trip when we were in Paris. I really need to organize my pictures and blog about it. We saw so much & so many interesting places.

Today  though, I wanted to share with you my observations as to how women dressed in France. Particularly in Paris. While in Paris, the majority of the women I saw, looked very stylish. I saw them throughout Paris-the streets, the metro, at dinner, at work, coming home, leaving home, at the local grocery store, etc. We actually stayed at someone’s apartment really close to the Eiffel Tower.  I could see the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom window, it looked gorgeous at night.

The Parisian women I saw, all had this sophisticated,classy look to them. I noticed the majority wore mostly neutral colors: black, grey, taupe, some white and some burgundy/wine colors. A lot of just black (skirt, dress, pants & top) with a taupe scarf, black peacoat, tights and a black handbag. A few here and there wore burgundy (dresses & skirts) with black tights. It was still pretty cool in France, so you still saw a lot of peacoats and scarfs. Once in a while you would see a pop of color, mostly in the scarfs. I think I remember seeing someone with a mustard scarf. And the clothing didn’t necessarily look like it was expensive, but because of how they put their outfit together with neutral colors they achieved an elegant look. Make-up & jewelry was minimal, they had this very natural beauty look to them. Very ooh la la indeed!

In Spain, I don’t remember seeing as many neutral colors in women’s clothing but they looked very fashionable. We went to San Sebastián, and it might have just been the location, but a lot of the families were well-dressed.

If you ever feel like you don’t have anything to wear, why not go for the Mademoiselle look. It’s super easy to put together for an instant stylish look. The great thing about the Parisian look is that you don’t have to spend tons of money! Most of the pieces pictured above are $50 or less. And you can find these pieces at Target, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Forever 21, H&M…all pretty affordable.

Some people might find wearing neutral colors boring but I like to think of them as timeless & chic. After all, who doesn’t look good in black?

For a Parisian look:


Cowl neck tee


Apt. 9 pants

Pure Good ribbed tight

Pure Good tight

ASOS tight

Zara pumps

Forever 21 flat

John Lewis scarve
$32 –

Ellis – JustFab


As I told you yesterday, I spent this past weekend celebrating my 30th birthday in NYC. Besides watching the EXPRESS fashion show at Times Square, I also did lots of eating, drinking, some shopping and tons of walking. When traveling, I really enjoy just walking through the neighborhoods and watching as the locals go about their day.  NYC is a great city to do this in. There are so many interesting neighborhoods and not to mention beautiful Central Park.

If you are planning a trip to NYC anytime soon, here are some places you should check out!


Located inside the Crowne Plaza at Times Square this chic bar is a great place to grab a drink and do some people watching. I had a Pink Martini ($15-yeah we were definitively in NYC). The drink was very refreshing and just what I needed to start celebrating.


We took the subway to the West Village and got off on 14th street quickly coming across this hip bar/restaurant. We had already had dinner so we were just there for drinks. But I did see a sign that said $1 oysters and happy hour from 5-7 p.m. every day! So if you like oysters and happy hour you might want to check this place out when you are in NYC. Sadly, we missed  happy hour. I did enjoy a glass of their signature sangria, “many try, but only few succeed in replicating the authentic Spanish potion featured in the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.” I can’t say if it is a successful replicate of 1964’s  but I can say it was really really good!

Riviera Outdoor Cafe & Sports Bar

Cheap drinks! We stumbled onto this cafe on the corner of Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village. We sat outside and ordered some of their $4 margaritas. I had a strawberry margarita and enjoyed some late-night people watching. We didn’t order any food but it looked yummy.  Their specials are $4 margaritas every night and happy hour on weekdays from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. all beers only $3 (includes imports). If you are looking for cheap drinks in NYC this is a great place to enjoy them at.

Juliana’s Pizza

Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for some delicious pizza. It’s located next to Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge on Old Fulton St. Originally, we were going to have pizza at Grimaldi’s but I was quite hungry by the time we made it across the bridge. And of course it was lunch time on a Friday so the line at Grimaldi’s was super long. There was not a line at Juliana’s and since we have a Grimaldi’s in Dallas (which I’ve been to several times) I thought let’s try this place out. And I was so glad we did because the pizza was just as delicious as Grimaldi’s! We had a small white pizza (has 8 slices) with pepperoni. They also have the cute glass bottle soft drinks. It was a perfect lunch date in Brooklyn! So, if you do not want to stand in line at Grimaldi’s, check this pizza place out. After all, I heard it’s owned by Grimaldi’s and they opened it for the over-flow.

Bill’s Bar & Burgers

If you find yourself in Rockefeller Plaza and in the mood for some burgers & fries at a reasonable price then this is the place for you. I think my burger was like $8. I say reasonable because at another place they were like $19.

Cafe Metro

We stopped at a Cafe Metro on Avenue of the Americas for breakfast. It’s a quick-casual restaurant. They have some sample plates to choose from, as well as a menu. It’s cafeteria style, so you let them know what you want & they quickly make it for you. They can make you  an omelet, pancakes, french toast or perhaps you want an egg sandwich. Breakfast was very satisfying and got us ready for our busy day in NYC.

NYC Hot Dog Carts

A super-quick and cheap lunch in NYC is a hot dog and drink for about $4 from one of the many hot dog carts. We enjoyed our hot dogs at Central Park.  Some of the NYC hot dog carts even have Dr Pepper for those of you who are addicted to this particular soft drink (I have several friends who only drink Dr Pepper).

Unfortunately, every time I came across a Wafels & Dinges I was stuffed. Otherwise, I would have definitively had me one or two. They looked delicious and the reviews all seem to be positive. Maybe next time I’ll save some room for Waffles & Dinges.

EXPRESS Fashion Show Times Square-Holiday 2013 Collection

NYC is such a fun place to visit! Having grown up in a small town, I have always yearned to live in NYC and Paris. Both of which, I have been lucky enough to visit for the second time this year.

This past weekend, I was in NYC celebrating my 30th birthday.  I still can’t believe I am 30! Is it just me or do most of us think we will be in our twenties forever? When I turned twenty… 30 seemed so far away, but these ten years flew by so quickly!

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza at Times Square located right on Broadway. You step out and you are surrounded by noise, people, lights…so exciting! And one of my dreams came true, I was able to watch a fashion runway show in person. Granted, I was not seating in the front seat next to Victoria Beckham and it was not haute couture but still a live fashion show.

The EXPRESS Fashion Show was held at Times Square this past Saturday. There were so many people there! I can only imagine how crazy it gets on NYE. A day before the fashion show, they started to build the runway. I saw some of the models trying on outfits and getting their makeup done (1st picture above). The models looked so tall or taller than they look on t.v. or in photos, even in the one above.

I probably would have gotten a much better view of the fashion show had I gotten there early. We spent that day sight-seeing and shopping. I was so hungry by the end of the day, that we stopped for dinner before heading to the fashion show. By the time we got to Times Square, there was already a sea of people. Luckily, I still managed to get a pretty decent view of the runway. The EXPRESS fashion show was a sneak peek into their Holiday 2013 Collection. A lot of holiday wear in red, black, silver and white. Pretty much the colors you see during the holidays. They did throw in a bit of blue as well. My favorite item from the EXPRESS Holiday 2013 Collection is the red lace dress with quarter sleeves. It is the second dress you see in the picture above.

The EXPRESS fashion show at Times Square was so much fun! You had Times Square as the background and the music was great! It was truly a great experience that I will never forget.

Here is a short clip of the end of the fashion show, as all the models walked out in pieces from the EXPRESS Holiday 2013 Collection.

When in Rome..


In 2009, my husband and I went on holiday to Italy & France.  We spent most of the time in Rome and took side-trips to Venice & Paris. We chose Rome since one of my favorite movies is Roman Holiday.   I wanted to visit some of the places Audrey Hepburn goes to in the movie. Sadly, I don’t remember having champagne while sitting outside of a café.  I did drink lots of wine, ate a lot of pizza, pasta and of course gelato. I had gelato for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

At the Boca de la verita

Bocca della Verita

Colosseo, 2009

Colosseo, 2009

At the Spanish Steps.

Fontana di Trevi

Vatican City

Vatican City

We stayed in the charming Trastevere neighborhood in Rome. We wanted to be among the Romans and didn’t want to stay in the touristy areas.  We stayed in a bed and breakfast right in the heart of the neighborhood.  We booked a room & even got our own private bathroom.  It really is a lovely neighborhood. I remember looking out my window and watching the locals go about their business.  Parents walking their children to school, the locals on their way to work, the bakeries opening up– just a typical day in the life of the Romans.

The restaurants were tiny and the food was delicious! I fell in love with their Penne all’Arrabbiata. This pasta has a kick to it, arrabbiata does mean angry after all.  I love spicy food, so I had this dish several times during our stay in Rome.

IMG_0814 IMG_0813

Eating my fave: Penne Arrabiata

Eating my fave: Penne Arrabbiata


Just thinking about the food, especially the gelato, makes me want to go back sooner than later.

If you are planning to visit Rome make sure to visit the Trastevere neighborhood. They have several bars and restaurants in this lovely neighborhood. And remember, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

Baci e abbracci!