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Friday, May 26, 2017

Favorite Coffee Shops

This is a long awaited post: my favorite coffee shops. With my days often out and about, stopping by a coffee shop is usually almost always on the to do list. Whether it's to catch up on some work, meet up with friends, or just grab some coffee from local favorites, this is one of my favorite parts of the day. This list is in no particular order. I've mentioned what I love about each coffee shop, pros and cons, and some images for you guys to see if it's worth your next trip to NYC or even NJ! First up is the coffee shop that I probably frequent the most.
HAPPY BONES
394 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

Happy Bones is one of my favorites in the city for many reasons. I love this alley turned shop design and not to mention how much I enjoy getting my iced almond latte for a little morning pick-me-up or a mid-day break. You'll find that this is actually a go-to for a lot of Instagrammers and SoHo locals.

Pros: Great coffee, lighting and aesthetically pleasing design. Has Wi-Fi. Convenient location in between SoHo and Nolita.
Cons: No bathroom and limited seating. But when you score that table, all is well.


BOXWOOD COFFEE
17 Beechwood Rd, Summit, NJ 07901

Not exactly in New York City, but when it comes to New Jersey, Boxwood Coffee is where I'm always hanging out when I'm waiting for Marco to get out of work. Easily accessible by the NJ Transit lines, it's a spacious coffee shop in Summit, NJ and is a great place to get work done while drinking some great coffee as well.

Pros: Great coffee, has a bathroom, lots of seating, good music, and Wi-Fi.
Cons: A bit of a commute from NYC.


BUTLER BAKESHOP
95 S 5th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Butler is a beautiful bakeshop in Brooklyn that definitely deserves more attention. The coffee shop has a gorgeous interior palette and an amazing selection of dishes, coffee, and pastries. A bit of a walk from the nearest train, it's definitely worth a visit your next trip into Brooklyn.

Pros: Great drinks and food. Beautiful design. Wi-Fi. Lots of natural light. Spacious.
Cons: Just a bit of a walk from the train with nothing much around the area.


BLUESTONE LANE COLLECTIVE CAFE
55 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014

Bluestone Lane is an Australian Coffee shop that serves food as well as drinks. It's not really the kind of place you go to work, but definitely a great place to meet with friends. During the warmer months, it's lovely to sit outside and enjoy the neighborhood. I definitely recommend getting the affogato.

Pros: Great food and drinks. Everyone working there has an Australian accent. Has a bathroom.
Cons: Can get pretty crowded at times.


CHALAIT
1216 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 | Chelsea Market 299 W Houston St New York, NY 10014

Ah, Chalait. One of my favorites for years. Their original location closed due to having to relocate but I still remember the original shop and it just always gave the best light. Anyone that was a regular at the original Chalait definitely still misses the old stomping grounds, but today, they have three locations throughout NYC, with the third just opening today. Chalait has amazing drinks and by far the best matcha that I've ever tried. Also, they've got some solid latte art and a bomb food menu too.


Pros: All locations have a great menu and you'll see that some places offer different things. This makes visiting a Chalait easily accessible from some popular parts of the city.
Cons: No Wi-Fi but this could be a good thing. Detach and talk with friends. Hang-out, it's refreshing.

P/C 1216 Broadway: Has great lighting and is conveniently located in midtown. Small and in the lobby of an office building so it can get crowded/busy at times. No bathroom.
P/C Chelsea Market: Located in Chelsea Market so you are surrounded by a lot of other places. Located inside so it won't give you the natural light you're looking for if you want to take a photo.
P/C 299 W Houston: The biggest space and probably your best bet if you're looking for an Instagrammable shot. A bit of a walk from most train lines but very close to the 1 Train.


BWÈ KAFE
1002 Washington St, Hoboken, NJ 07030

If you find yourself in Jersey City, more specifically, the Newport stop on the Path Trains, head over to Bwè Kafe for a spacious coffee shop that has wi-fi and a good amount of seating. The interior is bright and like most of my favorites on this list, they've got a great list of drinks and display of pastries for a quick bite.

Pros: Great for working, near the train from NYC, Bathrooms, Wi-Fi, decent parking in surrounding area.
Cons: You can almost get too comfortable here.


CULTURE 36
247 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018

Culture 36 is one of my favorite places in midtown. I went to school not too far so I stumbled upon this place on day after classes. It's small and most of the people I see going in and out and those working in the offices in the area, but believe me when I say you need to have the chocolate chip cookie here.

Pros: Has Wi-Fi, good lighting for photos, convenient location, and awesome chocolate chip cookies.
Cons: No bathroom, small, can get noisy.


LUDLOW COFFEE SUPPLY
176 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Ludlow is a LES favorite of mine. It's just a few minutes down the street from a convenient train stop for me and I actually have a couple other favorite shops in the area such as the hair salon I always go to, Reformation, or grabbing brunch at Clinton Street Baking Company. Ludlow is great for working but table space does get limited. They also have a menu of food you can have along with your coffee.

Pros: Has a bathroom, Wi-Fi, convenient location, good lighting.
Cons: Small, limited menu choices.



TOBY'S ESTATE BROOKLYN
26-25 Jackson Ave Queens 125 North 6th Street Brooklyn 160 Fifth Avenue 44 Charles Street | 81 East 45th Street

Oh how I love Toby's Estate. I love that there are so many locations throughout the city and I'm able to get my coffee fix no matter where I am. One of my favorites is in Williamsburg, it's such a beautiful space but that means all of Williamsburg thinks so too. It can be hard to find a spot here but once you settle in, you can get lost cozying up here. Another great location is the one on Charles Street. Since I'm often in that part of Manhattan, it's always a good go-to when it comes to killing time or getting work done. Also, their latte art is always on point.

Pros: Multiple locations, Wi-Fi, great food menu, bathroom in most locations. Great coffee.
Cons: Everyone also loves Toby's so these places can get crowded.

SEL ROSE
1 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002

A hidden gem but beautiful space. I'll have to admit that I don't make my way here as often as I'd like to, but this coffee shop is definitely perfect for a quick break from the busy city. All the times I've been here it's been fairly empty and quiet which is uncommon for me. I wouldn't work on my laptop here, but I'd absolutely sit by the window, enjoy my coffee, and just chat with friends or people watch.

Pros: Beautiful Interior, good coffee. Quiet and usually spacious.
Cons: Closes at 3PM.




RAMINI ESPRESSO BAR
265 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018


Ramini is my latest discovery and I definitely need to come back and try more of their pastries. My latte art was on point and I was overwhelmed with all their options. The space is a bit further away than most but it makes for a great place to hang out if you're looking to get away from all the noise. It's definitely worth the walk as it is hidden between the garment shops in the Garment District. The space has massive windows that allow for a lot of light and two giant marble tables. If you want that money shot, go here.

Pros: Amazing selection of pastries, great coffee, away from the noise, great lighting.
Cons: A bit of a walk from the train.



Hope you guys found this list helpful! Enjoy. :)






Monday, May 22, 2017 New York, NY

The Boss Jacket


Have you ever put on something and felt like you could do anything in it? That's what this AYR jacket is instantly doing for me. I guess they call it "The Boss Jacket" for a reason. Never in a million years did I think that I would be my own boss at the age of 26, making my own schedule, working for myself, doing exactly what it is that I love to do and being able to say that it is my full-time job. It's one of those pools you just need to dive into. Fresh out of college, I didn't know where I was heading, but I was creating a path that I seemed to have been on for much longer than I realized.

On days that I've got to tackle shooting, e-mails, meetings, and other appointments in between, this is the perfect piece to throw over even my simplest outfits and still get some attention. Shop this look below.

AYR Jacket | AYR Jeans | Aritzia Top | Gucci Belt | Céline Bag | Ahlem Sunglasses | Kenneth Cole Sneakers
Captured by: Allysha Y.





Friday, May 19, 2017

The Garment District

I've lived in New York City since I was 8 years old. I grew up in the Philippines so the change from where I spent my early childhood years to where I have spent the past 18 years of my life was quite drastic. New York City is all kinds of wonderful, full of vibrant people, amazing architecture, and incredible neighborhoods. 

One of my favorites, a neighborhood I got quite familiar with because I went to college in the area, is the Garment District. While most people know it to just be about fabrics, fashion resources, it's so much more than that. The Garment District is home to some wonderful small businesses, offering fantastic views of the iconic Empire State Building from many rooftops, as well as some delicious restaurants and coffee shops. Read on to check out some of my favorite places to go in the neighborhood.
SPYGLASS ROOFTOP BAR
47 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

The first place I recommend checking out is Spyglass Rooftop Bar. It's got unobstructed views of the Empire State Building, a perfect place to grab drinks with your friends, enjoy the Manhattan skyline, etc. What's my go to? A glass of rosé to wind down after a long day. Let's not forget how great the photo possibilities are with a view like this. You can find Spyglass Rooftop Bar inside the Archer Hotel.
CULTURE 36
247 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018

What kind of guide would this be if I didn't share one of my favorite coffee shops? I can't tell you guys how much I love Culture 36, especially because of their freshly baked cookies. What I love about coffee shops in this area is how surprisingly roomy they are compared to other neighborhood coffee shops.  There's a beautiful marble bar table by the window, perfect for your latte-art photo ops. And of course, because I typically had a laptop with me during my college years, I found myself wandering over here since they had Wi-Fi available to get some work done while enjoying a good latte and chocolate chip cookie.
TRADEMARK TASTE + GRIND
38 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018

I recently stopped by Trademark Taste + Grind for lunch to catch up with some girlfriends. The entrance opens up into a coffee shop but beyond the doorways towards the back, it leads to a restaurant with a menu filled with some incredible dishes. My friends and ordered the salad, some fries for the table, fried gnocchi, and the meatballs. If you're looking for a place to enjoy some great comfort food, be sure to check out Trademark Taste + Grind.


RAMINI ESPRESSO BAR
265 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018

Tucked in on W37th is Ramini Espresso Bar, it's a beautiful coffee shop with a wide selection of pastries, beverages, with marble tables lining up the windows. Past the multiple fabric shops in the area, it's a great place to sit and talk. I spent a few moments in the afternoon catching up with my dear friend Chelsea over lattes and their sea-salt chocolate chip cookies.

I hope that this post was helpful in case you find yourself looking for some new places to check out. The Garment District is full of hidden gems that we can often walk past so don't forget to stop and look around every once in a while.




In Collaboration with The Garment District Alliance. All opinions expressed are my own.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Toronto, ON, Canada

Hello, Shangri-La Toronto

Another city to explore, another beautiful hotel to call home for a few days. On my recent trip to Toronto, I was welcomed by the Shangri-La family. Although my time in Toronto was mostly a rainy one, being at the Shangri-La definitely made staying in a lot better. From the luxe linens, to the views of the city, not to mention the most stunning bathtub set up I've ever experienced, it's a memorable stay that reminded me how much I love the Shangri-La Hotels. Growing up in Manila, Philippines, Shangri-La hotels were my favorites to stay in when my parents just wanted get out of our suburban area and stay within the city.

Shangri-La hotels perfectly capture the elegance of Asian design and I couldn't have stayed at a more perfect property in Toronto. My arrival to the property was instantly a warm welcome by the staff. When it was time to check into the room, I was stunned by the beautiful suite.

Welcomed with a bottle of champagne and gold chocolate dipped strawberries, getting settled into the room was made even better. Two doors opened to a beautiful marble bathroom with the room surrounded by floor to ceiling windows. I stayed in a Premier Queen Suite. It's a corner room with a great view of Downtown Toronto. Although most days were rainy, the location of the property is so centralized that it makes getting around really simple.
After a long day of walking and exploring, what better way than to settle into a bathtub I have not stopped dreaming of since the day I checked out? I loved everything about this bathroom from the tiles to the toiletries and I always looked forward to soaking in this tub with a view of the CN Tower at night as Toronto lit up as the sun went down.

The suite included two lush queen-sized beds. One for me, and one for my friend and fellow blogger, Allysha. We both loved to be in bed early, but loved to stay up late in bed as well. Being night-owls, we slept so well to the point where we could barely wake up in the morning. One morning, we decided to enjoy breakfast on one of our last mornings at Shangri-La. I enjoyed my go-to french toast with a side of bacon while Allysha had her colorful fruit bowl.

If you ever find yourself in Toronto, please check out the Shangri-La Hotel. I already can't wait to book another stay with them when I go back.

188 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5H 0A3, Canada