Restaurant Review: Williamsburg Chique and Not-so Chique!

Throughout the past one and a half years I’ve had many chances to try out great and bad restaurants in Williamsburg. It’s only a short hop on the G-train from where I live and it’s very convenient in terms of being able to stay in Brooklyn but still get the busy vibe of Manhattan streets, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, I won’t bother, it’s simply too complicated to explain!

Anyhow, Williamsburg can be very chique once you trot away from the walked-by-many-appreciated-by-few roads of Bedford Avenue and Co. Matter of fact, I rarely even go to Bedford Avenue anymore just because this entire stretch down to the Southside turns into a true frat house atmosphere once we hit the weekend hours. And who needs that when you can simply walk down another street and land somewhere truly interesting? Yes, that’s exactly what I think, too.

Therefore, instead of getting of the Bedford Stop on the L-train, ride one stop further and make your way to Lorimer/ Metropolitan Avenue. It is here where you will find…

1) Dumont

Now this is a pretty chique restaurant compared to some of the washed down bars you have in its proximity (take Union Pool, for example). I’ve come here for birthday dinners and on other occasions. Originally known for its burgers, it has strutted far away from that reputation. One time I tried the shrimp fettuccine, which I can recommend once it is in season again. The veggie ravioli is equally as good. But the true hit was the Dumont Salad with its Danish Blue cheese, radish, pecans and the slightest hint of its balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Dumont's shrimp ravioli
Dumont’s shrimp fettuccine

There is always an appeal to dishes where you can taste they are home-made and not factored down to the conveyer-belt-atmosphere found elsewhere. Dumont also has a great cocktail list but unfortunately I have not yet come around to trying these out. Next time for sure!

2) Dressler

I went here once, for a friend’s birthday. It was pretty amazing. Due to the servers knowing him, we got a higher end treatment (and lots of water refills, even though our glasses were still full). It is owned by the same folks who opened up the Dumont, an already classy joint off of Lorimer. But the Dressler is definitely its higher end version. Look at its proximity to classics such as the Peter Luger Steakhouse and you will understand why. It’s breathtaking and awing but in the end, it is a restaurant. The food is on the pricier side so be prepared to bring your second wallet tucked in your nice tuxedo.
When we went here, we got the butternut squash ravioli. A gift from anywhere but earth! The marinated beets were also appealing and great for starters. They have a nice selection of wine and cocktails, just like the Dumont!

Beets appetizer and home-made pasta
Beets appetizer and home-made pasta

Given the fact that all of this happened post-Sandy (about five days after the mega storm), I was greatly impressed at the freshness of this food and the cheerfulness of the place. We even discovered an Indian actor sitting at the bar (but of course you don’t disturb these people or gawk at them..).

3) Walter Foods

Another goody, especially when it comes to brunch. I can highly recommend their Bloody Mary’s (so rich in ingredients it will make your head swirl when you see the amount of olives you are able to snag). Also, their French toast has left a lasting impression, especially after coming here more than a few times already. If you are not into sweet stuff, try their egg dishes or, even better, oysters. That’s right, they offer oysters for brunch (market price, usually).

Mouth-watering French Toast!
Mouth-watering French Toast!
Oyster time
Oyster time

Walter Foods has an outdoor patio in the back, and it’s especially gorgeous in the late summer/ fall time of the year.

4) Rye

Rye is simply amazing when it comes to brunch, and food, and pretty much everything else. Walking in here was impressive by itself. The décor was very classy, resembling rustic wooden creations in Germany, but then more elegant due to the white table sheets. We sat at the bar, so no white sheets for us. However, after waiting some time for our food to arrive, we did get the chance to taste one of the best gourmet pieces I’ve tried in New York so far!

I ordered a Croque Madame. For those of you who’ve been to France: It’s similar to a Croque Monsieur. The last Croque Unisex I had was in Paris. This one at Rye was so much better than anything I’ve tried in the French capital (I am unsure if this is a compliment or not, but let’s let it sit there for a minute). My friend had the omelet with sides – equally appealing and also tasty.

Croque Madame
Croque Madame
Omelet with side of salad and toast
Omelet with side of salad and toast

I glanced around and saw a random girl order the French toast. It was such a large amount, I would recommend splitting it among two people. Seriously, her oversized plate was clustered with the goodies! Since we were pretty full, we didn’t get the chance to try out their home-made donuts. Next time for sure!

5) Mother’s

Now to the not-so-chique: Mother’s is a joint that has a dive-bar-kinda vibe. Other than that it has one of the best veggie burgers I’ve tried in this area and one of the cheapest. For 7 bucks a pop you can get a full burger. Meat costs extra, I believe you would pay 8 dollars. Cheese is 1 dollar. Then you can choose between either a side of fries for $2 (totaling everything to an even $10) or a basket of fries for $3. For some reason we always end up getting the basket because our thought process is that we can simply share it and save one dollar (instead each of us getting a side of fries). A basket is humongous, though, so half of it goes uneaten. I am not sure if I should approve of the waste of food or the savings of money… They have decent beer, too. Gaffel Koelsch from Austria, who couldn’t say no? If you’re in the Graham avenue area, feel like having solid bar food and not waiting too long, this is the place you should end up at. As simple as that!

Williamsburg is so darn close to Greenpoint that I have decided to come up with a special post on restaurants in the former Polish neighborhood soon. Keep tuning in for the best of the best, or at the very least, the most interesting when it comes to a German discovering her eating ways through New York errr Brooklyn!

Photo A Day: December 21 to 27

A weekly summary of what has been going on with Liz’ photo challenge. I have to admit, I skipped a day! Or two… December 22 was dedicated to the elephant. Although I went to two different holiday markets that day, I just couldn’t find anything even remotely resembling this grey-skinned animal. Forgive me! And then Day 25 was dedicated to the family – of course. Given the fact that my family was not around me that day, I didn’t have much to post. But I do have tons of other pictures to offer!



Another cold, windy day in Midtown. This is the view I have when I look outside of my office window. Rain in the Big Apple. I thought the cloud formation was pretty awesome, though. It’s the small things that can make you feel lucky. More than often I find that this is the weather outside. New York has so many sunshiny days that a rain shower or snow storm is more on the rare side.



A peaceful day hanging out with the boyfriend, decorating the apartment with Christmas lights from last year. The day before the big Christmas Eve, one of the most important events this year. Since we didn’t have a Christmas tree this time we thought this to be a great alternative.



Silent was the night. Deliciously prepared home-made mac and cheese and German Glühwein. It was a feast! And a successful silent night!



Another view from my office window. That day was when a snowstorm came around. Also known as the second blizzard this season. Unfortunately it didn’t stick. I believe I almost bought those overpriced snow boots in vain… Hopefully we will have more snow this weekend! I really want to see if the boots are worth their money or not.



One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was indeed this necklace. Don’t the moon and stars cry out for meditation? It’s made of oxidized silver, which gives it a vintage look. I fell in love with it instantaneously.

Four more days until this month is over. Four more days until a new year begins. I am remotely excited to see what the future holds…!

Celebrating A German Christmas: Understanding the Crucial Elements


1) Glühwein

Glühwein, also known as spiced mulled wine, is one of the most important parts when it comes to celebrating a real German Christmas. The most important ingredients of Glühwein are, tada, red wine, cinnammon sticks, orange peel, and possibly hazelnuts. Glühwein has been successfully copied by countries such as Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands with variations in names, such as Glögg. Just kidding, people!
However, I do believe that there must be some common origin, because Swedish Glögg does not differ too much from German Glühwein. Spiced mulled wine is already served weeks ahead of time. Whenever those fancy Christmas Markets open is when you can snag your first cup of the great drink. Which leads me to my next topic…

2) Christmas Markets aka as Weihnachtsmarkt

Weihnachtsmarkets are widely spread throughout Germany, Austria, and yes, even parts of France. They are an important part of the German tradition for they offer great opportunities to sell hand-made merchandise, promote traditional German food and drinks, and provide a landmark in each city, so to speak. Holiday Markets can be small in range or tremendous in size. The Trier Holiday Market is an annual event that draws people from far away because of how it’s built up around the market place and the church. The Cologne one is rather disappointing in size considering the 1 million citizens the city houses and is rather chaotic. The Heidelberg one is parted in three different pieces so that you walk up the Hauptstrasse and run into them as you shop. Then there is a holiday market in Speyer that is open until January.


Typically, they close on December 23, one day before the Christmas craziness begins. They are a great opportunity for after-work happy hour (I am not joking) and socializing with your friends. Without them a crucial element of German culture would be amiss.

3) Christmas Eve Mass and opening presents

Christmas Eve is the most important evening on Christmas. Typically, Germans don’t work on December 24, or if they do, they stop after noon. Stores will not be open for longer than that and they are closed throughout the holidays. So what do you do in these 2 and a half days of blessed time off? You cook! And lots of it! While Americans invite their family over on Thanksgiving, we have our loved ones around us on Christmas. People start eating their first meal on Christmas Eve. After this, you might sing a few Christmas Carols. And then it’s time for Bescherung – the German word (yes, they actually have a word!) for packing out your presents on Christmas Eve. Why then? Because typically you would go to a Midnight Mass together and then give your presents in the night from the 24th to 25th of December. However, since most children do not or cannot stay awake for so long anymore, the tradition has changed a couple of hours earlier.

4) 2 Days of Christmas

I’ve always wondered why Christmas is such a big deal in the States. After all, you only have one day! Germany, on the contrary, has two full days of Christmas and then Christmas Eve (which is very important as you can see above). Usually, one day or evening is reserved for the close family and one day is reserved for extended family (such as grandparents, cousins etc.). However, as children grow older and turn into teenagers, they make a point in meeting up on December 26 – the second day of Christmas. Too much bliss around family can be annoying, therefore this is a great day to exchange gifts and spend time with your clique. Stores are not open on the second day of Christmas. In the US, this is one of the most important days when it comes to post-holiday shopping.


5) Keeping Your Tree Until Three Saints Day

This is something that is probably true in other countries, as well. When you have the courage to buy a real Christmas tree, then of course you have to keep it way longer than the actual holiday. You start getting rid of it around January 6, which is Three King’s Day, a significant Catholic holiday. In Germany, children actually paint parts of their faces with ashes and make a helluva lot of noise while walking through the streets of a small town or village. Their purpose is to write the date on everyone citizen’s door after spraying holy water on it. They also like to ring the doorbell and collect money while they’re at it. I believe the most accurate purpose of their visit is to bless each person’s house (and door) for the upcoming year (until January 6). It’s nice to observe and I hope it won’t become extinct any time soon because these small traditions is what keeps the culture alive.

6) Christmas Pickle IS NOT a German Tradition

The other day at work a co-worker mentioned the Christmas pickle and announced that it was a typical German tradition brought over by immigrants. I stared at her in disbelief and almost declared her crazy but then I did some research. Many versions of this story. circulate on the web: St. Nick brought with sweets and pickles and children hung these on the Christmas tree (false!). German immigrants carried over a glass pickle ornament on their voyage to America (false!). The lies go on!
To this date, I’ve never seen a pickle ornament hanging on any German Christmas tree nor have I ever heard a German speak about anything remotely resembling this concept. If I were to guess, I would say it comes from a country as exotic as Russia or Poland, but that is simply a guess. We hang Ginger Bread and sparkly red ornaments on our trees, I can give you that much. But pickles?! Please!

I hope this helped to clarify what to do and what not to do during a German Christmas. I wish you some happy holidays and don’t forget:

Be merry! Frohe Weihnachten!

Holiday Market at Columbus Circle and Rockefeller Tree

The days are drawing to a close as we approach Christmas Eve. Yesterday I had the chance to experience yet another fancy shmancy market: The Columbus Circle Holiday Market right next to Central Park and close to the shopping mall. Caved in between two cross-overs, it is pretty decent in size and houses many vendors similar to its sister markets at Union Square and Bryant Park. I’ve seen the exact same vendors at all three markets, such as the turning disks which display rapidly changing insects on them.

Holiday Market Columbus Circle - 8

I’ve also gotten the impression that many more jewelry sellers are promoting their merchandise at Columbus Circle than elsewhere. Here I have come across really funky looking rings made of antique brass dating back to the 1940s and equipped with heads of medieval-looking queens. Judy Kaye offers more on her Web Site, in case you are interested.

Holiday Market Columbus Circle - 4

Then I’ve seen Luminite stones featured by Peaceful Presents who were offering a drawing to win an entire set of their lovely art. Of course I had to participate after snapping this lovely picture.

Holiday Market Columbus Circle - 3

There is an actual food court at this market and it looks more organized than elsewhere. People have the chance to eat a variety of different foods, observe their surroundings, and think about what they want to purchase next. Vendors come from different countries. Of course the German Delights stand cannot be amiss. I’ve also come across a French vendor offering oriental spices for cooking and decorating.

As a pre-holiday activity, I planned on checking out the Rockefeller Tree before all of those annoying numerous tourists get to block it on Christmas Day. My way over there was already eventful enough as I walked towards Fifth Avenue and ran across this forest of lit trees.

forest of lit trees

Then the glamorous Fifth Avenue with its displays at the Bergdorf Goodman (possibly one of the most expensive shops around). Hollister’s half-naked models portrayed in the windows (some things never change). A fountain of lights running down a façade.

Bergman Window Deco
Bergman Window Deco
Lit Facade
Lit Facade

And then of course the one and only Rockefeller Tree, already taken in by hordes and masses of tourists. I got as close as I could without having to risk a shove in the elbow or neck and then I made sure to get out of there as safely as possible. I really can’t imagine how I’ve enjoyed a Christmas Day stroll around this part of town after seeing what was going on yesterday. Another cute highlight are the red ornaments displayed on fountains a block over, which I’ve always come to love when I am in the area.

The one and only Rockefeller
The one and only Rockefeller
Cute ornaments a block over
Cute ornaments a block over

The beauty about celebrating the holidays in the City is not so much the actual day but the entire chaos going on weeks before. Macy’s decorations, tree lightings, and all nations imaginable streaming into Manhattan to get some shopping done. Oh yes, this will be yet another eventful Christmas in New York!

[For more pics on the Columbus Circle Holiday Market go to A Picture Every Day!]

Photo A Day: December 12 to 20

The challenge is still going on! With 8 more wonderful topics to cover. I admit it, I’ve been cheating a bit. Not all pictures were taken the day they were supposed to go out. And then of course the terrible news on the Sandy Hook Disaster somewhere in between… Boy, the world is definitely not the same as it was before. My heartfelt thoughts go out to everyone affected by the massacre. As the stories reveal more and more details, it is even harder to grasp the high extent of shock this occurrence has evoked.

I therefore embrace this distraction from everyday life and news. It’s still fun to be part of the BeLoveLive photo challenge and so far I’ve come to make ends meet and get that one good picture every day.



Went shopping at Union Square that day. And what is going on? The holiday market, of course! You have a really great view when you walk up to what is now the Burlington Coat Factory Flagship store. On the top floor you have one of the best panoramas of this little speck in Manhattan! So of course I had to snap a picture – needless to say. The sparkling lights of those few little cottages grouped together – festive!



Our ordinary Christmas decoration the roomie hung up the other day. I don’t think it’s too ordinary; she made the best with what she had. Sadly, this year we decided against a tree. I guess it’s not really worth it since half the people living in that apartment are out of town for the actual event. It is great to have some nice ornaments and lights hanging in the living room when you walk through the door.

[Celebration] goes hand in hand with [Joy]


Sneaky! Two days apart from each other but SantaCon fell right in the middle. December 15 was the day, the big “we will get so merry” event. Read more here if you want further details. It certainly was merry, entertaining, and just the right celebration to make me feel joyful shortly before the holidays.



Always love to shop for gifts at Macy’s, my favorite department store at this time of year. It’s close to work and has never failed to disappoint me. Except for when I wanted to buy a wok – that was quite misleading. Other than that, their basement section is well equipped with precious household goods, which always make a great gift for all sorts of people, don’t you think?!



I went to B&H that day and stumbled across these fancy-sounding headphones. Urbanears must be the next hot thing. Perhaps they already are, I wouldn’t know. I still use my iPhone earplugs to listen to music but possibly I will upgrade to a pair of these, as shown in the photo above.



Went to Chinatown. The old and familiar district. Discovered this new store called New Kam Man. Was grossed out by their rusty wok selection but other than that the store has interesting stuff to discover. Such as French waffles with Chinese titles. Or this sample of a special kind of candy I was unable to decipher (my Chinese is about as rusty as their kitchen ware). It was fun to stroll around, look through their snack selection, and of course snag a few items. Such as the one and only wasabi peas, which will surely clear your nose!



Oops, mistake on my end! Instead of reading “carols” I read “cards” (the print is sooo tiny on a cell phone screen!). Luckily I was NOT the only one to make this grand error in context, therefore I didn’t feel too stupid when posting a fancy picture of holiday cards addressed to important people back home. Sometimes I wish for German cards but of course you cannot get these here. So English and Spanish will have to do for the time being. I really hope they make it to their destinations in time but who knows – the postal service is already flooded with last minute mail.



Bought an Advent Calendar at Aldi at the end of last month. Thought it was cute to share with you the simple chocolate ornaments I find each and every day. Granted, I haven’t touched the calendar in 6 days but that was because of some health issues I’ve been fighting. It’s so much more fun to devour them all at once, anyways. So this is what I do to get into the holiday mood, which is somehow not really showing in 2012. Most likely too much going on in my life at this time to concentrate on the real stuff.

‘Tis the Season: SantaCon in NYC 2012

6 SantaCon 2012

‘Tis the season! The season of giving, being merry, and acting drunk! Or swarming in a crowd of festive Santas singing “Ho Ho Ho” through Manhattan and Brooklyn.

This year’s SantaCon was a highlight to me in many ways: First, instead of only blogging about how thousands of happy Santa Clauses ran through Manhattan, I was actually part of the entire fun. Second, I got to wear a costume around Christmas time, something I have never done before in my entire life. Third, the pre-Karneval feeling and daytime drinking catapulted me back to the days when I was roaming the streets as a teenager in Germany and being merry for no reason other than hanging out with friends.

But all from the beginning:

Two weeks before the event was to go down, my friend, who just moved to New York and therefore rightfully earns the badge of “Newcomer 2012” had the exorbitant idea of being part of one of the biggest events going on at this time of year. I myself had secretly already given up hope on ever being part of the so-called SantaCon party – mostly for the lack of knowing the right kind of people who wanted to go out with me. However, this year was a bit different. This year we actually took our time to go from store to store, on the look-out for a cute Santa Clause or elf costume that would not cost an arm and a leg burn a deep hole into our wallets.

7 SantaCon 2012

I really have to say, that among all of those very original reds and whites, in the end so original that they all look too alike from far far away, it was rather hard to find anything under $50. But after seeing the men’s choices (an entire Santa suit for no less than 200 bucks), we felt slightly relieved that we are lucky to call ourselves girls and simply come up with our own style in case all means fail. Somehow along the way of posing for a picture for a Lindt chocolate promotion and snagging free dessert, I finally found a decent elf shirt for only 10 dollars while my friend decided to go with a simply Santa hat in combination with a red shirt. Voila, that part of our mission was fulfilled, and quite inexpensively I dare say.

A few hours prior to December 15, more friends suddenly announced that this year indeed they had to be part of the one and only SantaCon. Had we known before, we could have possibly planned our encounters a bit better. But planning is for the boring people and since we’re flexible, I decided to meet up with a group in the early afternoon already. SantaCon runs from 10 AM to 10 PM, so 2 PM seemed like the perfect time to start day-time drinking, I told myself.

I didn’t know which bars were part of the entire shivaree, so I was lucky to have friends who were better informed and evidently followed the meticulous route starting out in Midtown. First stop: Playwright bar around the corner of Herald Square. But as soon as I got there, sober as can be, I discovered that none of us were really in the mood to push through the ridiculously overcrowded bar. After half an hour of entertainment outside, it was time to go to the next stop: Little Town Bar around Union Square. Here the same problem: More drunk people hanging inside and outside the bars, causing a bunch of chaos but not so much fun!

You’d think this might be hard to digest on a still alcohol-empty stomach. We therefore spontaneously decided to pre-game in the mild outsides with a bottle of whiskey and a ginger ale. Divide this by three people and you certainly have a party going on already. So off we went, to the back-up and much less crowded but still Santa-filled location called Bar 13. Here a DJ was spinning the wheels with mostly electronic music. Happy elves and red-hats were jumping around, all immersed in the fun and game. Sober friends who joined us regretted not having brought their own bottle of booze. But we were friendly enough to share the remnants of ours with them.

Very original costumes here: Santa's best eggnog, Elf, and Christmas tree
Very original costumes here: Santa’s best eggnog, Elf, and Christmas tree
Mirrored Ceiling of Bar 13
Mirrored Ceiling of Bar 13

The last stop was scheduled to be in Williamsburg, where the Warsaw was supposed to end the entire shirade. We never really made it there. First we lost two-thirds of our group while using the restroom at Best Buy at Union Square. While we had thought it would be a great idea to wait on them, we decided to already jump on the L-train and make our voyage over to Brooklyn.

Three lost SantaConers at the Charleston
Three lost SantaConers at the Charleston

And indeed, we were the very first costumized people to make it to the Charleston, a bar on Bedford Avenue. Here we were craving some free house-made pizza (order a drink and get your pie) after a day filled with dancing and running around Manhattan. Then we slowly crawled over to Berry Park but found there were too many Santas inside to make us feel important. As we crossed the corner to Matchless, we finally ran across the rest of our 7 people we had previously lost. They had certainly waited for us at the one and only Best Buy in Manhattan but failed to check their cell phones (Stupidity, ignorance, or drunkenness? Who knows!) in order to find out we were long gone. On the downside, they had even made it all the way to the Warsaw but refused going inside after the bouncers demanded a $10 cover charge for everyone who wanted to rightfully celebrate SantaCon. The Matchless let us in for free, drinks were cheap and dancing was only partially prohibited. Shortly before the day changed over to the 16th it was time to call it a night. Almost ten hours of celebration came to an end and I would not have wanted to miss out on it again!

Celebrating until the early morning hours
Celebrating until the early morning hours

And for all of those posting nasty messages a la “the Santa I remember never puked on the L-Train” : Stop hating and be part of it next year, when it’s once again: SantaCon in New York City!
And with costumes ranging from Santa hat over Eggnog to Christmas tree, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding something you feel comfortable with!

[To read about last year’s SantaCon post, go here!]

“When Christmas Came Early” OR “The Day I Discovered Groupon”


You must think I am not from this world when you see the title above. “Groupon? Isn’t that the old deal of clipping coupons in an online fashion?!” you must think while slapping your head simultaneously. Let me tell you something about Groupon: It’s simply amazing!

A friend mentioned it to me about it a little bit more than a year ago: Elena and her husband actually went on a few dates at restaurants because they found really good online deals. She told me the site was great to try out new cuisines and acquire exotic tastes (this was after a discussion we had about whether or not restaurant week is worthwhile). Then, only 2 months back, another friend kept blabbing off how wonderful of a steak house she had discovered with her boyfriend when they found this amazing deal on Groupon. Once again, Groupon! But what finally got me convinced was not even that. No!

It was more-of when my coworker announced one day that he would be going to a “Cook & Go” Party the following weekend because of this awesome bargain he had found on …. you guessed it, GROUPON! This made me prick my ears! “So Groupon does offer other stuff than restaurants, doesn’t it?” where my first thoughts. I then skimmed through their web site and what I saw took more than a few hours to digest: Language classes, flight lessons, cooking courses, body language experiences, cocktail mixing licenses, fitness passes, and and and… And most of these discounted anywhere from 60 to 90 percent off the original price! I am now a convinced member of Groupon and grudgingly suck it up when they e-mail me their daily deals every.single.morning. I can hardly wait to see if the flight lessons are available or if I still have to save up a bit until I take that final step.

Some deals I definitely had to pass on. That Cook & Go bargain was certainly one I would have loved to try out but unfortunately I was too late. The way Groupon and other coupon sites work is fairly easy to understand: Deals are posted and then there is a certain time for them to close down. Sometimes it can take weeks, other times you won’t find the discount a few days later (such as with Cook & Go). Of course a good amount of the stuff might be re-advertised at some point in time, don’t panic. The more people to grab that groupon, the more it can be discounted for the next time (I believe). Either way, it’s a great concept to introduce people to a restaurant/gym/salon and to get them to come back to your joint. Every day is sales day on Groupon! Which was why I went overboard in the very first week and bought groupon’s worth almost 200 bucks.

groupon - body language class

First, I had to buy a gift voucher for that body language class I’ve never really been thinking about taking desperately always wanted to take (you get the self-justifying psychology in this one, right?!). Sometime next year I’ll be sitting in 3 hours worth of tutoring on how to detect signs of when my opponent might feel uncomfortable during our conversation. This could be helpful when it comes to interviews or everyday situations. Gah, I will be watching you!

groupon - fitness classes

Second, I will go for 10 fitness classes at a gym right around the corner from where I live! I’d been thinking about picking up on sports again but didn’t really find a place and price that suited my needs. 30 bucks for 10 classes seemed like a fair deal to me. But the best part about it is that I already know the location and feel quite comfortable with the walking distance from my house.

groupon - martial arts

Third, after all of that zumba, yoga, and what not, I will pick up on self-defense in one of the best Martial Arts Schools in NY (at least that is what Yelp reviews brag about). I will learn how to stay fit, healthy, and confident throughout a two month phase.

groupon - beginner language class

Last, but not least, I will pick up on a new language next year: Time to learn Portugese! ABC Language schools offered this sweet groupon for less than 100 dollars during which I could do an All-Beginner-Class for 6 weeks straight. For 90 minutes each week I will hopefully know how to order a coffee or say hello and goodbye whenever I stop by in Brazil and Portugal. I figured this language would give me more benefit than Italian, even though this is also a beautiful romantic language. Other options, for those of you who want to know, are Spanish, French, and German. But since I already speak those three, it really did not make much sense for me to start from scratch.

Once again, I am baffled at all the choices this wonderful city holds open to those who seek. Of course you have to be careful that you don’t grab bargains from areas that are considered “ghetto” (stay away from certain parts of the Bronx and Bedstuy!). Or you have to take into consideration that if traveling time to Jamaica/Queens takes you more than an actual fitness course, the deal is most likely not worth it. The discounts apply mostly for a time frame of a few months. Anywhere from 1 month to 6 months – check the fine print. It’s a great way to pick what you might want to pursue, such as a passion for martial arts or getting to know other’s bodily expressions really well…

So, now you know more about my life and love to try out new things than I’ve recently posted. I’m still contemplating if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but meanwhile I would also like to tell you that LivingSocial is another biggie when it comes to Daily Deals. I have not yet purchased anything from them because I am still broke from Groupon but will do so when time and funds permit. Happy pre-holiday shopping to you!

(Author’s note: To get to all of those wonderful sites mentioned above, simply click on the different images!)

Photo A Day: December 7 to 11

I have been sick. Terribly sick. First the flu and then a stomach bug. Vicious little creatures, those things. So I’ve basically been lying around, feeling like a boxer after the last strike. For 2 weeks straight with only small episodes in between where I felt healthy enough to walk and talk. How I hate when a winter starts off that way. And even more when I cannot write and read what is going on in the world around me.

It’s almost been about a week since the last time I posted on here. Time to catch up with the PhotoADayChallenge. And lots of more things! But those will come soon, in the next few days, promise! Oh, all those wonderful blog post ideas I have… *chuckle*



I saw this one the first time in spring. And it is still there! A fancy set of a table and chair on my way to the Flatiron District. In the storeowners’ opinion, I guess every day is the day to have some good wine made of dark grapes. I am happy to see these pieces of color now at this time of year, when it is getting grayer and darker as the days hurry by.



Or rather a lot of strangers on the subway. Two children looking out of the window while crossing the Manhattan Bridge on the Q-train. Their mother sitting right next to them, occupied with her own thoughts of the day. A guy listening to his headphones… Scenes of everyday commuter life making it so special and unique. Just on Monday I rode the train with a mother who had her 2 and a half year old son with her. At first he was crying and throwing toys on the dirty ground. Then he saw other children and wanted to share his firetrucks with them. Some of them smiled back at him, others got freaked out… Guess you gotta love it or hate it!



There are many things I love. A hearty brunch consisting of a huge stack of pancakes, for one. Devouring it in one of the most famous restaurants in Greenpoint, for two. And then of course spending this occasion with my love, the boyfriend. Those rare Saturday mornings that have happened lately. By the way, Five Leaves used to be owned by Heath Ledger (yes, the Australian movie cutie)! More about this location to come soon, though!



This was not taken the same day it was supposed to be posted. However, I heart this picture because it reminds me of a great time I had when I took it: Around the same time last year, in a church, with many festive occasions going on. Candles can convey such a warm feeling that they can only be lit during very special times, don’t you think?

[Daily News]


This is an example of what our daily subway newspaper looks like. Well, I actually do not think it is a subway newspaper; however, MetroNews is almost always handed out close to the subway (same with AM, another New York publication). It is free of charge and most of the time the people handing it out look like homeless people (and most likely are). Sometimes I see very young fellows handing them out who look like volunteers so I wonder if this is a means for them to work off their community service or if they stand in any relation to the newspaper… Who knows!

Now, since I actually don’t read it too often (I am mostly absorbed in one of the quazillion books I bring with me), I don’t know what this particular story was about. However, only one week ago, a random passenger was pushed onto the tracks at 49th Street by a panhandler (who was possible slightly insane) and died after a NY Post reporter captured a picture of how he got run over by an approaching train. The morals of this, oh dear, I do not have to go into this. It’s just scary to think how many people choose not to help you when you are in a dangerous situation like this. And the NY Post photographer made a lot of money with his despicable picture!

Photo A Day: December 4 to 6

Three days passed, three lovely motives to choose from! I enjoy scrolling through Instagram and seeing what other participants have come up with. The rock motive from today, for instance, was taken with a literal, figurative, and symbolic meaning attached to it. But let’s go back two days and start with


dec4 - tree

This wasn’t too hard. I guess Liz picked it because trees are pictured all over December. Christmas trees, fir trees, leafless tress… You name it! I thought about going for an old-school fir tree lit with a quazillion candles like you see all over the place. But then I walked past Uniqlo on 34th Street and the red lights matched the stores scheme: Holiday Sales Season. I’m actually not a big fan of their selection and the store in general. Their prices are a bit steep for the quality of clothes they offer. I was thinking about snagging some warm underwear from then because of their heat protection but am unsure if I really want to spend $50 on this… Help me make a decision! Is this a reasonable price?


dec5 - message

True, this is not a real message as intended only for me. Instead it gets the message across to a bunch of people: Korean Lunch Special! And it surely attracted me. The Worjip is most likely the least fancy place I’ve been to in Koreatown (which can be quite chique, believe it or not). Lots of students come here to grab a cheap lunch, and since I could still pass as one of those… Anyhow, they offer a really good deal with their $6-Buffet and a good selection of kimbap (similar to Sushi but not really) for only $5. Every time I go to Little Korea, I leave the place a little bit happier.


dec6 - rock

I guess this word can have several meanings. I really couldn’t think what rock to take a picture of (was briefly considering Rockefeller Center), so luckily I remembered that “rocking it out” can also be conveyed in this term. Voila, here we go: A street performer band playing in Herald Square. A subway station I see every day when I go to work. So when I got off work today they were performing in this awesome costume. Funny, huh? I love how it’s the small things like these that can make my day and remind me where I am at. In one of the craziest cities of the universe!

Flying Solo: Be.Love.Live’s Photo a Day Challenge

It’s on – AGAIN! The Photo A Day Challenge has once more attracted me but this time for a very different reason: Liz from Be.Love.Live has started her very own list and come up with 31 gorgeous topics to cover during the month of December. Since it is her very first time trying out a challenge she has created, I thought I’d give it a shot and show some support for a fellow (blogger) friend. I also find most of her daily themes very appealing and don’t think I will have too much of a hard time in following it this time around. Well, you know me – until I run out of time am bored have other things to do.

However, this time I feel that the participants are being kept in a more intimate circle and I really enjoy seeing what everyone else comes up with as the days go by. Of course this entire challenge is Instagram based (see more here). However, I won’t be posting a picture every day on Instagram. Which is why I decided to still snap my daily photo and then simply blog about it on this site.

Please find the fantastic list below:

Be.Love.Live Photo a Day Challenge for December
Be.Love.Live Photo a Day Challenge for December

And here I am, ready to cover Day 1 to Day 3:


dec1- red

Red is the color of the Christmas tree bow I discovered when strolling through Park Slope on a decently warm Saturday afternoon. I really want a tree for our apartment this year but with the smallest one being $25 plus a $10-dollar-stand I still have not yet decided if it’s really crucial to have one or not. The bows are fancy, nonetheless, as is the ultimate flower of the season –a poinsettia. I found the flowers at our local Loewe’s store, the very first time I actually entered it.


dec2 - hope

Hope can be expressed in many different ways. Sunday was the day I finally started feeling better from a week-long illness called the flu. And it was also the first time I actually went out and met up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Since a girl from Brazil was leaving back to her home country, we had a get-together and I met a lot of cool new people at a local Williamsburg bar. Unfortunately, the Zebulon is closing down really soon (in a couple of weeks) and I could not believe that I’d never heard a concert here before. Well, until now err yesterday, that was. Eastern-African music mixed with nice swaying tunes – gosh, a free concert which is actually good; in the winter time! So I hope to have more of these evenings during this season because it proves to be very difficult to party here once the cold kicks on (luckily, it has not been too bad yet, fingers crossed).


dec3 - waiting

I snapped this photo while waiting at the W4 Subway Stop (Greenwich Village). A military guy (most likely Army) and a random girl waiting for the uptown A express train to rattle in. It’s a blurry shot but I find it interesting. You really don’t see too many servicemen and –women in New York, which is why it’s fascinating once you run across one. Oh, and of course waiting for the subway is another crucial part of life when living in the Big Apple.

Alas, more to come from the fancy shmancy holiday list! I plan on posting every three days or so – we will see how it works out. I highly encourage you to still participate, even though you missed out on the first few days. It’s always nice to spread the word and idea to see which part of the www is sucked in!