Archive for the ‘getaway’ Category

New York Adventure Day: Red Hook!

May 21, 2010

It’s Spring, people! But with this weather we’ve been having in New York (oy the heat!), you could easily trick me into believing it’s summer. Regardless. It’s warm. It’s lighter later. Let’s get on our bikes and find some ice cold beverages.

Welcome to one of my favorite new neighborhoods: Red Hook!

I feel like I’m telling the world about a great secret whenever I talk about Red Hook. Although many have explored and enjoyed the neighborhood before lil’ ol’ me came along, it still feels like uncharted territory. It has a small community feel and a very beachy vibe. And as a California girl, it really felt like home. It’s the type of place that makes me wanna listen to Jack Johnson and take a long nap. And maybe bring along a sketch book.

The first time I visited, I remember thinking, “This type of place exists in New York? And it’s a mere 20 minute bike ride from my apartment??”

I tell ya, it’s worth the trip.

Not only is Red Hook home to the only Ikea in New York, and the 2nd location of the huge amazing market, Fairway. But it also hosts a number of delightful small businesses (which is the more appealing aspect of Red Hook to me personally). You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a delicious bakery, or a homegrown nursery or flower shop, or a fresh lobster place. They have everything!

With a free Saturday and a loose gameplan, my boyfriend and I set out to do some Red Hook exploring last weekend. Here are the highlights.

Calexico. Holy moly. This is some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in New York. I felt like I was transported to San Francisco. They’ve been getting some crazy press (they used to be just a food cart, and now they have this store front! YAY Calexico!), so I was eager to see what all the buzz was about.

This food was outrageously good. It was the perfect fuel to keep us going for our bike ride. The atmosphere is not pretentious at all and the food is such good quality. Calexico gets an “A+” in my book. And David was very pleased as well.

Please allow me to recommend the Carne Asada Quesadillas. Promise me that you’ll get this when you go there. It was a recommendation from my friend Jessica, who said to me: “I know, I know, quesadilla?  What are you, 11?  I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed because it comes with the crackiest of crack sauces I’ve had in a long time”. She was right. The Crack Sauce. Mmm! Don’t even get me started. Here’s their website.


Free kayaking! WHAT!? Yes. Red Hook is, apparently, just that cool.

As a totally unplanned unexpected bonus, David and I happened upon this amazing program sponsored by the volunteer organization called the Redhook Boaters. The kind and good-hearted people of Redhook Boaters set up shop at Louis Valentino Jr. Pier Park (phew, what a mouthful!). And in exchange for helping them clean up the waterfront, they provide free kayaks to take out on the river. With gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty and the satisfaction of knowing that the Red Hook waterfront has a few less cigarette butts and bottle caps as a direct result of your help, an afternoon spent at the Pier is a win win!

It was a blast. And a pleasant little work out! When we got there, it wasn’t super crowded and we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes for a kayak. But I would recommend checking it out soon before word gets out that this is the best deal in the city. They’ll be at the Pier every Sunday, and during July and August they’ll be adding evening kayaking on Thursdays from 6-8pm! Checkemout.

Say hello to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. If you’re a key lime pie person (which, why shouldn’t you be?), then fuggedaboutit. Yer done. This is all you need. These little treats are off the hook.

David and I kept things classic with their 4-Inch Key Lime Tart. But if you’re lookin’ to get crazy, try their Swingle: a key lime tart, on a stick, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. I have yet to sample one myself, but I hear good things.

I heart Red Hook. It’s so quiet and charming…in an abandoned-warehouse-beach-town-sorta-way. There are a few other wonderful little places that I love, but didn’t mention in this post.  They are definitely worth a visit:

*Baked – their Sweet & Salty Brownies make me weak. And check out Jen’s delicious blog post about her first time at Baked!

*Fort Defiance – order their Muffuletta and Ginger Soda, and you’re looking at a perfect lunch.

*Saipua – a flower and soap shoppe, this is the best-smelling storefront in Red Hook. The gorgeous bouquets that they post on their blog cheer me up daily. (Click here to check out my amateur, but beautiful, bouquet I assembled there!)


Holy Hiatus

May 3, 2010

Remember when I started an exciting new fulltime job back in September? You don’t? Oh. That’s okay. Here’s a refresher.

Just because I seemingly never talk about my office job on this blog, doesn’t mean that it’s not a huge part of my everyday life. In fact, it is actually the one commitment that is currently taking up the vast majority of my time.

That’s about to change.

In 2 weeks, I’m a free agent. I get a summer vacation. Like a teacher! The reason being: my job is seasonal. Working on a TV show is apparently not a year-long commitment. So this summer I will be experiencing my first official “hiatus”.

When I started this job back in September, the Summer Hiatus that my boss spoke of couldn’t have seemed farther away. But all of a sudden, it’s a mere 2 weeks from now, and I still have very little idea what I plan to actually do with my time off! I recognize that this is a pretty cushy problem to have. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying over the fact that a summer vacation is essentially built into my work schedule. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the fact that very soon, I won’t be responsible for reporting somewhere 5 mornings a week.

My day-to-day schedule will have no structure. Wait, I take that back. My day-to-day schedule will have whatever structure I choose. This thought is both empowering and intimidating.

When I’ve lamented about this recent fear of free time (new blog title?), a friend who also works in casting reassured me: “Trust me, you’ll find things to do. You’ll meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. You’ll sleep in. You’ll go to yoga. You’ll be fine.” In the words of Buckwheat: Oootay.

I have a basic idea of things I could willingly spend my time doing. Like focusing more attention on the bakery, and performing with Harvard Sailing Team, and taking that occasional yoga class. And I’m hoping to be able to squeeze an *actual* vacation in there too! David and I were toying with the idea of Greece, but now I’m thinking maybe Costa Rica? Without any flights booked or hotel rooms reserved, it’s all still a bit of a dream. But if I can manage to get in some pool time in a foreign place, sipping tropical cocktails, and taking long summer evening walks, I’d consider it a hiatus well spent.

With all of these prospective summer options laid out in front of me, I realize how lucky I am to even have this opportunity to take a break from the 9-5 lifestyle. Which makes these months off feel even more precious! I must remember to get off my own back about Making The Most Of Every Second Of My Hiatus, and instead focus on How Do I Choose To Spend My Day Today.

Maybe I’ll just take up an instrument. Like the accordion. Ooh sexy.

Or maybe, as soon as May 20th actually gets here, you’ll find me taking long naps under that heavenly magnolia tree in Prospect Park.

A Getaway San Francisco Weekend

April 19, 2010

Before I get on with this post, I just have to state the following fact: I AM BLOGGING THIS FROM A PLANE. That above photo is my view RIGHT NOW. What!? I know! I’m just as shocked as you are. Is this the future? Where’s my hover car? Am I on some supremely boring candid camera show? Yet another reason why Virgin Airlines is my jam: they allow me to feel the exhilaration that comes with blogging at 35,000 feet.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can get on with this post. Ladies and gentlemen, San Francisco!

So, the reason I’m on a plane in the first place is because I’m coming back from a weekend trip to San Francisco! That’s right. The home to Rice-a-roni, trolley cars, and the Tanner family.

Though the vacation was brief, I seemed to pack a lot into just a few days. Also, a trip like this reminds me how necessary it is to get out of New York, if even just for a little while. I feel like I say that every time I take a day or weekend trip out of NY, but you guys, it’s true! New York, I love you…as long as I can escape you every now and again. Don’t take it personally, New York. You’re still my favorite. You just better not be raining when I get back, or else we’re having words.

The fresh familiar air of California was the sweetest way for me to recharge my sun-craving batteries.

My trip to SF was grounded by one main event: my great friend, MacKenzie‘s, 100th birthday party. Well, “100” collectively: she turned 25 and her dad turned 75. So a group of us gals made the trek, 3 of us coming from Brooklyn and 1 from L.A., and we partied in her Bay area hometown. The party was a blast. It was hosted in the upstairs dining room of her family’s Hunan restaurant (I think every family should have a family-owned banquet hall, they come in handy!).

The soiree fit MacKenzie’s quirky, kitschy, foodie personality to a tee. There was plenty of pig to eat, a spirited “Oh Danny Boy” sing-a-long accompanied by her cousin on the accordion, your typical family life-sized cardboard cutouts, and custom-made pinatas of the evening’s honorees. MacKenzie going to town on her own paper-mached head with a baseball bat was incredibly bizarre. But then again, delicious butterscotch candy came out of her face, so who am I to complain!

Fortunately, our group of girl friends all had a similar agenda for the rest of the trip. Eat, shop, drink, sun, and more eat. Naturally our first stop was a little local food tour led by MacKenzie.

didn't get to go in, but gotta love the name

get in my belly

get in my belly

And the grand finale, a bakery that I absolutely fell in love with. The sweetest little pink and yellow bakery with a variety of handmade sweets. Miette is a sweet-toothed girl’s heaven. If you don’t “aww” over the adorably decorated cupcakes, then I guarantee you’ll at least love the cheerful wallpaper.  The pastries at Miette were a little more formal than the comfort sweets that we make for Fanny & Jane, but certainly got my bakery wheels a-turnin’!

And I couldn’t leave without trying one of these little guys:

a happy camper

And on the last day of my trip, my mom flew up from Los Angeles to spend some time in San Fran with me! She splurged on a super swanky hotel for us to stay the night! The kind of hotel that has random artsy chairs in the dimly-lit lobby and an iPod dock with speakers in each room. So we (I) jumped on the beds, played some backgammon, caught up over coffee, and took nice long sunny walks. It was, simply put, THE BEST.

family time with cousin Tony!

It was certainly a trip packed to the brim. I’m hoping to get in another visit to California this summer. But instead of NorCal, I’d go down to my hometown L.A., to visit my family and friends. And favorite restaurants. Naturally. But until then, I’ll be dreaming of the amazing Cali Mexican food that NY just can’t hold a candle to.

(p.s. Would you believe me if I told you that it took me the ENTIRE plane ride to put this post together? I guess in-the-sky-wifi isn’t as speedy as it’s on-the-ground counterpart.)

Can Every Day Be a Lazy Saturday?

March 11, 2010

Another reason why I am convinced that I will never move (have I ever mentioned on this blog just how much I love my apartment?  I love my apartment), is my close proximity to Prospect Park.  It’s like having a really big backyard…open to the public.  But the cutest public imaginable: lots of babies and little puppies.  And being just minutes away from the Grand Army Plaza entrance has it’s perks, one of which is the Saturday greenmarket.  Every Saturday, in front of the big arch, farmers set up their wares and all afternoon you can stop by for a fresh focaccia, refreshing milk, or even a succulent plant.

Look at these kids playing in the little patch of snow (bottom right)!  A-door-a-bull.

Come on, Spring!  I’m ready to let the sun shine in.

A Fine Night for a Picnic

March 10, 2010

*This evening was sponsored by The High Line and Trader Joe’s*

Yesterday’s high of 55 degrees and low of 42 degrees had all of New York City in a wonderful mood.  The air was crisper, people were smiley-er, coffee was sweeter, and the subways were still fairly smelly and unreliable…but not as bad as usual!  The random patches of dirt-covered snow hadn’t even fully melted from every sidewalk, but everyone was out on park benches with their ice cream cones and their lighter jackets.

My sweet boyfriend met me after work with a bag full of Trader Joe’s goodies, and we snacked and strolled along The High Line for an hour before I had to go to Harvard Sailing Team rehearsal.  One of the entrances is right near my office, and after last night, I promised myself I would take advantage of escaping to The High Line more frequently.  I hadn’t been back since I blogged about it in the summer, and it’s interesting to see how the place changes with the seasons.  It’s still just as magical, but the overgrown dried-out grass (see first photo) added an eerie feeling that reminded me of what the original abandoned railway tracks must have been like before they revamped ’em.  But there is just something so peaceful about being at eye level with many of the surrounding buildings.  When we perched on a chaise lounge, I looked up at the sky, and I swear I saw at least a star and a half.

A Very Voorheesville Thanksgiving

December 1, 2009

The friends and good times…

And then there was food…

Well, that just about sums it up.  A 3-day vacation with some of my besties was just what the doctor ordered.  New York City is a funny place – I love it dearly, but every few months I just need to get the hell out.  And the crisp air of upstate New York, amazing comfort food, and some serious 3 on 3 basketball games were a the perfect little rejuvenators.  It was nice to have all the space in the world to run around, and also to have the option of staying in pajamas till 5pm.

With December practically here (holy cow, what!?), I’m hoping to take some more time off, and go visit my family in California during the holidays.  But procrastination really got the best of me this time, and airline tickets are already in the $600-$700 range!  Eeep.  Not an option.  I’m praying for a miracle, or some mercy from Virgin America.  Otherwise, I might have to get creative and plan a train-able/zip car-able/hitchhike-able East coast adventure for myself!  Any ideas?

And now I’m back in the city.  Back to the daily grind.  Everyone at work today was moving just a bit slower than usual.  It seems I’m not the only one who wasn’t quite ready to return from vaycay.  Or the lethargy could also be attributed to everyone’s happy little lingering buddha bellies filled with mashed potatoes and pie.

And a Happy Thanksgiving To You!

November 25, 2009

I want everything to be pumpkin flavored these days.  Look at that mound of home made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!  Made on a whim!  Not to be sold through Fanny & Jane, but to be consumed by moi…and whoever else happened to be around in time to snag a cookie before the plate was empty.  My roomies were happy campers that night.

I am now sitting at the computer for the last few hours before I get in a van and drive to an undisclosed location for the holiday weekend.  No, it’s not as creepy as it sounds.  Truth is, my boyfriend and I are spending Thanksgiving in upstate New York, in a town called Voorheesville (who?), with some of our best buds.  Our friend, Adam (who’s family is graciously hosting us for the weekend), rented a van which we will all pile into in 5 hours, and then we are driving to his home which I have never been to.  And then we will, as the tradition goes, stuff our faces and nap.

It’s been a bustling season for Fanny & Jane, which is both happy making and exhausting.  And since Jen has been the queen of the kitchen these past few months, I know that she is very much looking forward to kicking up her feet and helping herself to some mashed potatoes.  All the orders are out the door, and now it’s time to sit and expertly relax.  Although, I hear a game of football on the lawn is part of the Voorheesville Thanksgiving tradition.  So, with the exception of that hour and a half, you can find me relaxing with a crossword or in the midst of a game of Catchphrase.

I just want to take this opportunity now to thank you (it is practically Thanksgiving after all) for following and reading my blog and for supporting Fanny & Jane.  If this is your first time reading, or you’ve been following for a while, or you’re my mom, thank you for “tuning in”.  I’m thankful this year for all the wonderful support I’ve received from friends and strangers.  I am so grateful to have such inspiring, creative, talented, and giving people in my life.

Have a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!

A Monday to Ourselves

October 19, 2009











*all photos courtesy of David’s iphone.

As I mentioned in this post last week, ever since I started my new full-time job three weeks ago, my free time is very precious, since it is fewer and farther between.  Thanks to Columbus day last Monday, I had the entire day freeee!  Luckily, David and my schedules miraculously coincided (I guess even Apple store specialists can catch a break on Columbus day), and so we took the entire day to venture around Brooklyn and Manhattan together, free as boids.  Because of our crazy schedules and multiple extra curriculars, the chance for David and I to both have a free day with not a thing on the books is very rare.  Sometimes when this happens, the realization can be so surprising and exciting for me, that I get overwhelmed by all of our potential day options (let’s finally go to the Statue of Liberty!…let’s go to that museum we keep talking about!…we have to try this new restaurant for breakfast, that new place for dinner, and the other cute little cafe for a snack!…)  But micro-planning a day like that can, not surprisingly, have the opposite effect of the desired relaxation we’re both hoping to enjoy together.  So we chose to celebrate with a semi-structured-loosely-planned-not-over-the-top day…and we started off by affording ourselves the beautiful luxury of sleeping in a little.  Then we grabbed a deelicious brunch at egg–a Williamsburg breakfast hotspot that I’d been dying to try, next we quietly spent some time (with several brazen, and hungry, geese) on the shore of the East River Park.  We finished the day with a massage in the city, and finally sat down to a homemade dinner and watched “I Love You, Man”.  It was bliss. 

I’m craving that freedom to be outside and eat good food and spend time with my boyfriend, as I sit here at my desk on this rather quiet Monday.

Saipua in Red Hook

October 7, 2009

my autumn-inspired bouquet

No, I’m not speaking in code.  Saipua is the name of a soap and flower shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn (and I found out today from browsing their website that “Saipua” is actually derived from the Finnish word for soap. who knew!).  I’d heard of this sweet family-owned business from my friend Marina, a great blogger and lover of dresses, flowers, and cooking.  And whales.  She loves whales.  Marina ocassionally will mention Saipua’s bouquets and arrangements and feature gorgeous photos of them on her blog.  From following the endless web of links from her blog to others and beyond, I’ve caught wind of the fact that Saipua is fairly adored – it seems that they’ve become somewhat of a local celebrity, and a buzzword for Brooklyn brides on the search for the perfect flowers.

I know that Saipua’s been around for a little while, but now that I’ve been bitten by their bug, I am delighted to discover them for the first time.  To hear of their local and far-reaching success makes me incredibly happy, on two counts.  One, their flower arrangements suit my taste to a tee, and are so simple and gorgeous that I feel they deserve every bit of praise and success that comes their way.  Two, it warms my heart to hear of yet another successful family-owned small business with a solid fanbase and devoted customers.  And they have a boutique in Brooklyn!

So it seemed only fitting that my first trip to their store was with Marina.  This past Sunday was a gorgeous day and everyone was out and about (you would not believe the swarm of people that were at the Atlantic Antic Festival, the largest annual street fair in Brooklyn).  Marina and I met up for an impromptu day in Red Hook.  It was my first time in the neighborhood and I couldn’t get enough of it!  On bike, we explored some New Orleans cuisine at a yummy lunch spot, discovered the hidden waterfront gem that is Steve’s Key Lime Pies, and I spent the better part of my day tucked away, eating a perfect broccoli cheddar quiche followed by a delectable sea salt caramel cupcake (and I also took some scrumptious sweets home for later!) at Baked.  Guys, I could go on and on about this perfect bakery, but not now, another time.  I’ve gotten distracted.  This post is about Saipua!

Soo….we finished the day with a treat: the anticipated trip to the flower and soap shop, Saipua.

Their modestly-sized store is rustic and romantic.  It’s like a little hideaway, in every corner a little mason jar bursting with rich colors and textures that I’ve never seen in a flower.  And the incredible scent (fresh and earthy) seduces you in from the street.  Marina and I had the good fortune of having the store to ourselves for almost our entire visit!  And one of the owners, Eric, couldn’t have been more helpful and kind (if you’re reading this, Hi Eric!).  He was patient as I asked a million questions about typesofflowers and caringforflowers and howlonghaveyoubeenintoflowers, and then he even complimented the little arrangement I finally put together.  (I say “finally” because I was so thoughtfully and delicately selecting the few stems for my mini bouquet that I must have taken at least 15 minutes to pick 3 stems)!  Oh well, when in Rome.  Assembling and picking my own bouquet was highly satisfying.  I recommend it to anyone looking for a random pick-me-up.  It’s cheaper than a manicure and it looks so nice in your home!  You can check out Marina’s sweet bouquet and her photos from the day here.

I hope to go back and visit soon.  Hopefully I can make at least 1 more bicycle trip to magical Red Hook before the chilly weather gets the best of me.  And even when it does get a little too bitingly cold, there’s always the Spicy Brownie at Baked to warm me up.


my handpicked bouquet from Saipua, freshening up my living room

my handpicked bouquet from Saipua, freshening up my living room

Hi-Ho, Silver!

October 6, 2009


Hello again.  Thank you for allowing me to take a little hiatus from blogging.  Rest assured (mom, Jen, and Marina — my faithful followers), I’m back now.  It seemed that my heart, body, and mind were asking for a little break from the blogging and the internetting lately, so I granted myself most of August, all of September, and a touch of October to be free from this blog and “virtual reality” as much as possible.  As a result, so much has gone on in my “physical reality”, that I’m just bursting to share all the new news.  To my old readers, welcome back!  To my new readers, welcome now! 

In true Faryn fashion, I could talk about this stuff for hours.  But I hope not to over-blog you too much with this first post.  So to bring you up to speed, here are the major points (and links) of interest, and I’m sure the rest of the details will be sprinkled throughout the coming posts.

  • Jen quit her job! (YAY big time!)
  • I bought myself a bike (her name is Pizza Party and she’s pictured above and below)
  • Harvard Sailing Team finished filming our summer video series project, and now we’re in post production.  (Sorry.  To those in the biz, “post”).   We performed in front of hundreds of students at the NYU Tisch freshman orientation.  And now we’re 1 month into performing our ALL NEW Saturday night sketch show!
  • Our little bakery, Fanny & Jane, has kept nice ‘n’ busy.  In addition to our usual here’n’there orders, we’ve done sweets for our friend Dan Klein’s birthday/open mic/Brooklyn loft party, provided the delectable edibles for hot new designer Susan Woo’s Fashion Week presentation event at NYC’s Hudson Hotel (pics of the yummy sweets here, pics of gorgeous event here), and most recently, we made trios of our shortbread jam thumbprints for a bridal shower party favors!
  • Had a true Labor Day.  “True Labor Day” = an overnighter in Connecticut with friends and the boyfriend, complete with poolside exhilaration, a hot tub, delicious food, a bonfire, and a joy ride in MGs from the 80s, 60s, and 40s (!).  All was made possible by the generosity of Tim and his family.  Fortunately, Jen and Marina were there to photo document. 🙂
  • After a completely unexpected turn of events, I quit my part-time job as an office administrator for a handbag and accessories company (GASP!)
  • After a completely unexpected turn of events, I now have a new full-time job working in casting for a popular television show (DOUBLE GASP!)
  • In lieu of a missed trip to Burning Man this year, “the crew” and I went on a camping trip in Taconic State Park.
  • Mad Men is my new religion. 

Ah.  Feels good to be back.