Tag Archives: New York City

New York City at Christmastime

3 Jan

The day after Christmas this year, I boarded a plane with my mom and my brother and spent “Christmas” with my sister and brother-in-law for the first year since they moved to New York.  Call us crazy, but we left on New Year’s Eve and I was back in Austin in time to give my husband a New Year’s kiss.

This trip, I didn’t do much in the way of exploration, but instead enjoyed being along for the ride, spending time with my mom and siblings. I snapped only a few photos.

Shake Shack New York CityAustin is set to get a Shake Shack later this year!

Empire State Building

Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows 2013 Holidays On Ice NYC www.gustoandgraceblog.comThis year, the theme for the Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows was Holidays On Ice. Each window was thematic to a specific holiday. The holidays featured included Valentine’s Day, Halloween, 4th of July (pictured above), April Fools Day. and Arbor Day. Smaller windows featured Groundhog’s Day, Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve.

If you are wanting to spend a part of the holiday season in New York City, let me suggest Thanksgiving to you. Last year, Anthony and I went at Thanksgiving and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade-watching crowd was far less dense than 5th Avenue after Christmas. The holiday windows were already decorated. Lines for ice skating rinks were not 3 hours long. We even made it to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Heading to New York City? Check out a few of my favorite places.

How was your Christmas? What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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Christmas in July and My New House

16 Jul

Lately, I have had Christmas on my mind. Yeah, I’m one of those people. This week, I finally started playing with the Christmas present Anthony bought me last year. Between wedding planning, honeymooning, moving, and job hunting, it just got shoved in the back of a closet and saved for a rainy day.

Last Christmas, Anthony bought me a house.  One I get to build, paint, pick furniture for, and decorate- a small-scale house I can fill with miniatures. Anthony had me swooning when I unwrapped my dollhouse kit.

Dollhouse_Walls

I’ve been working on painting the interior walls and bought paint for the exterior. I used leftover paint from the stripes in our laundry room to paint the dollhouse door.

Yellow_Dollhouse_Door

When I was eleven or so, my artist friend, Jana, and I used to make teeny-tiny food out of clay. We would meticulously hand shape the food and let it air dry or bake it, depending on the type of clay. It will finally find a home once my dollhouse is built. Even in my kitchen, I much prefer to make food in personal or “fun-size” portions rather than in a casserole dish. I think Peter Callahan keeps me good company.

Mini Clay Dollhouse Food

In my travels, I’ve loved looking and miniature mansions such as Queen Mary’s Dolls House at Windsor Castle, and the Stetteimer Dollhouse at the City Museum in New York City. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home, I visited the Tiny Dollhouse Store on a subsequent visit to New York City.

Windsor_Castle_Sign

Queen Mary’s Dolls House has small-scale clothing from Parisian fashion houses such as Lanvin,  Hermès, and Vuitton. In the Stettheimer Dollhouse are pint-sized works of art from famous artists who were friends of the Stettheimer family, including a tiny version of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending A Staircase.

Stettheimer_Dollhouse

Stettheimer Dollhouse, City Museum of New York

So maybe I can’t afford that tufted couch for my living room or that SMEG fridge for my kitchen, but there is no reason my dollhouse cannot be furnished with them.

I can’t talk about dollhouses without reminding you of this little gem of a proposal. Second most romantic proposal ever. Nothing beats how my husband proposed, of course.

My Favorite New York

21 Dec

New York is the only place I have traveled that has started to become familiar, and that is a wonderful feeling to associate with a far off place. There is a small part of me that is jealous of my sister’s courage to pack up and move to New York City. There is a much larger part of me that is grateful for it. It has enabled me (and given me reason) to travel to the Big Apple annually for the past three years for longer durations than I could otherwise afford.

I have done my fair share of sightseeing, museum going, shopping, wandering, and eating in the city. There are (quite) a few places that have become favorites of mine. Whether it is your first time travelling to the city, or your fiftieth, the places below are ones I have been to that I would recommend frequenting again and again.

My Favorite New York

  • Sweet shops:
    • Lady M – The Gâteau aux Marrons and Checkers cakes were the first and second best cakes I have had in my life
    • Laduree – Their salted caramel French Macarons are beyond delicious
    • Magnolia Bakery – Three words: Red. Velvet. Cheesecake.
    • Shake Shack – A decent fast food burger, but to die for custard
    • Serendipity III – Skip the dinner menu and order a frozen hot chocolate
    • Doughnut Plant – Crème Brulee doughnuts and cake doughnuts that actually taste like cake
    • City Bakery – If you remember Chantico from Starbucks, you’ve tasted City Bakery’s rich, thick hot chocolate
    • Momofuku Milk Bar – Known for their Compost Cookies, you might also try their buttery Crack Pie

The Original Five Napkin

  • Food:
    • Five Napkin Burger – Try the Original Five Napkin then walk it off on your way to view Radio City Music Hall
    • Employees Only – They have a menu that starts at midnight and boasts of truffled grilled cheese and bacon wrapped lamp chops. Yum!
    • S’Mac – a.k.a. Sarita’s Mac and Cheese. Dine in, or heat it at home
    • Katz’s Delicatessen – Where Harry Met Sally. Right around the corner take a look at the architecture of New Museum
    • Maison Kayser – a delicious French restaurant, great for brunch
    • The Standard Grill – They serve waffles with Maple Ice Cream . Walk up to the Highline elevated park while you are near
    • Hill Country Chicken – The best Fried Mashed Potatoes
    • Stout NYC – Texas Exes, a University of Texas Alumni group,  meets here
    • Eataly – An amazing Italian market

Grand Central Terminal

  • Sights:
    • Statue of Liberty – Get Crown tickets if you can score them, book months in advance
    • Chrysler Building – Just stare at the outside
    • Flat Iron Building – right next to Madison Square Park
    • MoMA – Van Gogh, Warhol, Picasso, Lichtenstein
    • Grand Central Terminal
    • Central Park – Carousel, Central Park Zoo, Alice and Wonderland statues, boathouse, so much to do!
    • New York Public Library – Home of the original Winnie the Pooh toys, right next to Bryant Park
    • Top of the Rock(efeller Center)–  An alternative to the top of the Empire State Building

Tiffany Diamond

DIY Dip-Dyed Ombre Mittens

16 Nov

Tomorrow, the fiance and I are taking our first plane ride together: a direct flight to New York City. We will be visiting my sister and her husband for Thanksgiving. Since Texas winters are mild, I feel like Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, and I will relate. She said “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” and I will probably be thinking “Oh boy, we’re not in Texas anymore.”

For the wintry weather, I wanted cute mittens, not gloves. This seemed like a tall order on short notice. After unsuccessful searching for something cute, I decided to “make” my own. No, I did not knit a ball of yarn into mittens, and no, I did not cut up an old sweater and sew. I store-bought some plain, chunky mittens and dip-dyed them. It was so easy I felt as if I had cheated Etsy or something.

DIY Dip-Dyed Mittens

To make your own you need:

  • Light colored cotton mittens
  • A bottle/box of Rit dye in the color of your choice
  • Clothespins
  • A dowel
  • A large pot (or sink)
  • Hot water

First, use clothespins (or binder clips, or string, or rubber bands) to attach the open end of your mittens to a dowel (or stick or broom). This is to ensure that only a few inches of your mittens are in submerged in the dye. It also keeps you from having to hold your mittens in the dye bath for an hour.

The instructions on Rit dye are pretty fool-proof, so follow those if you’d like. It is as simple as mixing the dye in hot water (by heating some in a large pot on the stove top, or filling your sink with hot tap water). Next, set the mitten laden dowel across the pot (or sink). Re-position the mittens if necessary so that two to three inches of your mittens are in the colored water.

Walk away. Come back an hour or so later. The dye will have wicked up another inch or two of the mittens, giving them an ombre effect.

Remove the mittens from the dye. Keeping them on the dowel, let the mittens hang dry. Expect this to take a day. The first few times you wash your mittens, wash them alone so any excess dye that runs will not ruin other clothing. With less than a week until take off, I did not have time to hunt for cotton mittens. Mine are 100% acrylic, which Rit claims will not absorb the dye. My mittens seemed to take the dye just fine, but we’ll see after the trip (and the first wash) if I end up with purple hands and cream-colored mittens.

I would love to see some yellow mittens with green dip-dyed tips.

I can hardly wait to wrap my mitten warmed hands around a cup of hot chocolate from City Bakery and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

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