November 1, 2014


For someone who grew up with a grand total of two seasons (summer and monsoon), autumn is an absolute treat. Seeing the leaves turn just doesn't get old, and one of the best ways I've found to enjoy it is to go on a nice hike. I'm still very much a sneaker-level hiker though so I rely on my friends to steer me towards beautiful foliage. Last weekend, my friend Emily led us to a gem of a hike that winds through Hook Mountain and Nyack State Beach Park.

The 6-mile hike starts out on a flat and curving path hugged by the Hudson River on one side and Hook Mountain's sheer cliffs on the other. Thicker layers and wind protection are recommended for this part of the hike, which can be quite windy. This is a also nice and scenic path for runners and bikers, and we passed a number of them as we went on our way.

After about 1.5 miles, the path forked. We took the lefthand path marked Rockland Lake and continued on the tree-shaded route, past the old stone building and a sign about the Knickerbocker Ice Company. From there, we followed the green-blazed hiking path. 

The unpaved path took us through the woods and some rocky switchbacks where we glimpsed the Hudson River through the trees until we broke through to the summit, where stunning views of cliffs, foliage and the river were plentiful. As we hiked from one part of the mountaintop to another, vistas switched from the Hudson River to a peek at Rockland Lake.

We descended through a path shaded with tall trees and dotted with large boulders. I loved this part of the hike where the trees were still lush and the leaves were starting to turn.

At the tail end of the hike, we switched over to the white-blazed path and emerged at the foot of the mountain in the quiet suburbs. As we walked back towards Nyack Beach State Park, we got a nice look at the mountain we had scaled.

And because this is the hike that doesn't seem to stop giving, we ended with a stroll through a sandy beach fringed will fall foliage before circling back to our car. It was one of those routes that felt like 4 different hikes wrapped up into one. So lovely!

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a hearty lunch/supper at Prohibition River on Nyack's Main Street. We tried a plate of the house-made Pickled Pickings, which that day was interesting and tasty selection of Swiss chard, cauliflower and asparagus. I tucked into the delicious burger and pint of pumpkin beer that I had been envisioning for about 30% of the hike, and yes, both lived up to my expectations. Emily had a hearty bowl of sweet potato curry over sticky rice, which she found quite satisfying. For dessert, we shared the apple pie spring rolls. The name of the dish gave everyone pause but it was delicious ... like an haute version of McDonald's apple pie (a compliment, I swear!).

We've got just a few more weeks left to take in the fall foliage (and enjoy pumpkin beer), so go out and get as much of it as possible before the season ends!

October 28, 2014


I can't seem to outgrow Halloween (nor do I really want to). From the first time my parents dressed my kiddie self as 80s-era Madonna to my years of Halloween galavanting here in New York, it has been one of my favorite annual events. With work and grad school corralling me in for the past year, however, I've had to tamp down on my partying. Thankfully, my friend Kathryn introduced me to a way of enjoying this yearly occurrence that doesn't result in a hangover: the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade. It's pretty self-explanatory so I won't bore you with more words and just show you my favorite shots from the 2013 and 2014 parades. Trick or treat!

October 18, 2014


Fall in New York State can be such a magical time. From the punishing summer heat, temperatures simmer down to just the right level where the air is pleasantly fresh and crisp, and you can run around all day with a wisp of a sweater and never break a sweat. On one such gorgeous weekend, we escaped to the North Fork to enjoy New York in all its autumn glory.

We stayed over the weekend but if you only have a day, I recommend starting with a lovely brunch at the dollhouse-like Jedediah Hawkins Inn. Built in 1863 and painstakingly restored to its present charming state, the property includes a boutique hotel, a top-notch restaurant, and even a speakeasy. It would have been nice to have brunch in their pretty garden but there was an event when we arrived so we had to be content with dining inside, which was not a terrible compromise. We agreed that the dining area was reminiscent of the second floor of Ladurée on Champs-Élysées—elegant, a shade old-fashioned but somehow cozy at the same time. I couldn't resist indulging in the amaretto french toast, served with fresh whipped cream and baked in-season apples. So delightful!

The North Fork is known for its many wineries (see my extensive rundown over at Discoverue), but since I had a European on driving duty, we decided to limit our boozing to just one spot. We chose Shinn Estate Vineyards and had a nice time sitting outdoors and trying their different reds. My favorite was the reasonably priced and playfully named Wild Boar Doe (get it??). I've been to the North Fork at other times of the year but I have to say, it's at its most gorgeous in the fall when the vines are lush and grapes ripe for the picking.

For all my planning, the most memorable part of our weekend ended up being at a farm that we just happened to pass on the road: Bay View Farm Market. They have a large open air market with stacks of colorful produce and the scent of freshly grilled corn emanating from the back. I've stopped here before to walk through strawberry fields. This time, it was the stunning fields of blooming sunflowers that drew us. That sight alone was worth the trip.

Autumn in New York is a beautiful but all-too-fleeting time. If you haven't done so yet, get out there and enjoy New York at its loveliest!

September 21, 2014


I've spent the entire weekend immersed in feminist literature, digging into how masculinities and femininities influence influence war and conflict, as part of my graduate school work. Admittedly, I used to have a bit of a negative connotation of feminism, feeling defensive about fighting for women's rights in the midst of all the suffering in the world. It wasn't until I dug into the theory behind feminism that I understood its full breadth. My professor Dr. Sylvia Maier explained it best by saying that gender studies is about emancipation of men and women alike. It is not a divisive issue because we are all affected by it and this very basic inequality is where so many other types of inequality feed off. Another person who just beautifully explained it is Emma Watson, who launched the He for She campaign today at the United Nations as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. I encourage you to watch it and hope that you'll participate in the He for She campaign. For more information, visit

September 14, 2014


Put a Disney Prince in a real-life setting and you realize just how ridiculous (and borderline creepy) these fairy tale ideals can be. This Buzzfeed video is so spot on, I was in tears from laughing while watching it. Click play to start your week off on a funny note!

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