Living in "The City That Never Sleeps" pretty much means we have no excuse to ever find ourselves bored with nothing to do. Luckily, our jobs have allowed us plenty of time to enjoy the city after a long work-day and on the weekends since we haven't had too many late nights in the office and don't have heavy prep work on Saturday and Sundays (yet). When we aren't busy at work or running errands, we like to use our time for personal indulgences and doing things we love to do!
Mel: As someone who is a self-described couch potato and a lover of Netflix and popcorn, I am proud to share that ever since moving to Manhattan 10 months ago, I have been a lot more active and spontaneous! Though television and napping still take up a pretty decent percentage of my free time, I have also been up to the following:
Exploring Central Park - I have been visiting Central Park for a few years now, coming with either friends or family when I was younger and now currently with my boyfriend on the weekends during our jogs. However, it seems that no matter how many times (probably 100) I end up at Central Park, I always manage to stumble upon somewhere new and undiscovered. Central Park is made up of 843 acres, borders on 59th to 110th street and spans across Eighth and Fifth avenue, so describing it simply as "big" is definitely an understatement. From what I have explored so far, there are fountains, bridges, rowboats at Loeb Boathouse, model sailboats in the Conservatory Water, a seasonal ice skating rink and a zoo. Since I live a few blocks away from the Park, I love visiting it when I have a few hours of spare time to escape from the concrete buildings and the hustle and bustle of the city. Jess and I did a Labor Day picnic in September, so check it out to get some summer inspiration!
Reading - One of the top three resolutions I had for the year of 2017 was to rekindle my love for reading and discovering new books! Since it has been a few months since committing to my New Year Resolutions, I am pleased to admit that I spend a good chunk of my spare time either in cuddled in my bed, on a bench at Madison/Central Park, or during my lunch break downtown by the waterfront catching up on some of the newest novels to hit the New York Time's Bestsellers list. During one of my more stressful and busier days at work (we all have those days), I like to unwind and re-charge by spending time alone with a raisin croissant from Bread's Bakery and just spend hours pouring over the newest book in my Kindle library. Fun fact - Currently I am reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.
Eating Oysters - Honestly, Jess and I probably spend the majority of our time together either discussing our brunch plans, or actually eating. It is no surprise to any of our friends that we are both avid food lovers and spend 50% of our free time walking around the city and discovering new eats! I was actually once asked by my managers what I would be doing with my time if I wasn’t eating, since they noticed that I was constantly snacking all day long at work. Since our love for eating deserves a whole separate post itself, I am sharing one of my top guilty pleasures in this post - oysters. My unhealthy obsession for oysters was born the Summer of 2015 when I resided in New York City for my Summer internship. I was never a big seafood fanatic, and prior to that summer, the thought of plucking something out of the ocean and eating it raw simply repulsed me. However, in the spirit of trying new things and being spontaneous, my friend and I ordered a dozen of oysters during one of our happy hour get-togethers and have been hooked ever since. Since moving to the city, I have been getting happy hour oysters ($1 per oyster) 1-2x a month, trying a different location each time and ranking my favorites. Some of my favorite places to date are: - Grand Central Oyster Bar - The Mermaid Inn (beware of long wait lines if you do not have a reservation) - Crave Fishbar
Jess: Contrary to Mel's self-proclamation above, I have never been a big television watcher, only occasionally catching up on Netflix shows when I unexpectedly get hooked on a series. I also rarely take naps, although I have been over to to Mel's apartment many times where she has fallen asleep and I work double-time on behalf of both of of us. I do, however, love sipping on a cup of tea in bed, reading Buzzfeed articles and watching trending videos and my subscriptions on YouTube. Have you ever just watched one video, and suddenly you're 15 videos deep and watching something that is completely random and unrelated to what you originally clicked on an hour ago? That's me, folks! Aside from the sedentary loves I have, I also enjoy...
Exploring NYC neighborhoods - While a lot of our free time is spent with each other shooting and eating at new brunch spots and coffee shops around New York, we actually get plenty of time apart and are able to explore and eat out with our other friends and family. One of my favorite things about this past year is that we have been able to capture New York through our photos, and it always makes me so excited to head to new places and munch on food that I've probably liked a photo of on Instagram before. I have also spent plenty of nights out this past year with friends and co-workers, so the night-life and bar scene is one that I am still navigating. Over the years, I have definitely familiarized myself with most of New York City, although my knowledge is still a bit lacking when it comes to the Upper West and Upper East Side. My resolution for the summer is to walk around and explore enough to recommend at least a short list of hot spots uptown! Favorite Neighborhood? East Village Favorite Brunch Spot? Russ & Daughters (best Eggs Benedict I've ever had!) Best Happy Hour? La Palapa ($5 frozen margaritas!)
Eating Ice Cream - When it comes to ice cream, I definitely have what I like to call a "healthy addiction". There's nothing I look forward to about the summer more than finding any kind of excuse to get an ice cream cone, and it's very unfortunate that I am also a fast eater, making it that much harder to make my cone last before reaching the end of the block. I am a repeat customer for too many places than I should probably let the world know here, but I also enjoy exploring new ice cream spots that I have yet to try. Favorite flavor? I cannot pick just 1...pistachio, black sesame Favorite Ice Cream Spot? Incredibly difficult to choose, but Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is one that I frequent the most and it has not failed me yet. They probably have some of the most unique flavors I've seen in a NYC ice cream store! Next spot on the list? Ice & Vice
Hitting the Gym - I always push myself to stick to a routine because I know that it will eventually become second nature. Most of my weeknights and even some early weekend nights are spent at the gym, where I do a combination of cardio and machine exercises. By no means am I am gym rat, but I know how important it is for me to go in order to feel like my day has been complete and productive. I actually use this time at the gym to follow up on our Instagram comments and blog engagement, and can usually get some great inspo for future posts and trips!
Going on very, very long walks - If you know anything about me, you know that one of my favorite things to do when I have hours upon hours of free time is to walk around and hit new records on my iPhone step counter. If you have ever been a victim to my suggestion that we walk the 4 miles instead of taking the subway or an Uber, sorry but not sorry because I stick by my love to get places by foot! Since New York is probably one of my favorite walkable cities in the world, it really is a no-brainer to try to get to a destination by walking, and you'll get the full experience by passing through different neighborhoods and bumping into crazy locals or lost tourists on a daily basis (equals more stories). I usually prefer the long treks alone, since I can listen to some music and do some thinking, but I've definitely dragged people along for the ride before as well! Memorable Walks of Fame: - Times Square to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn was quite a trek, but I passed half a dozen NYC neighborhoods, had dinner in Chinatown, and crossed one of my favorite bridges of all time, so the 4 hours was pretty worth it - When Melissa left Nice a couple of days earlier than I did, I took a day trip to Antibes by myself and walked for about 8 miles along the beautiful coast before deciding to turn around and complete the other 8 by sunset! - I once clocked in 33 miles for the day on New Years Eve in Singapore (Sentosa Island), when we got completely lost and walked aimlessly for an extra few hours after midnight trying to find the car that was supposed to take us home. Talk about an incredible workout, but one of the memorable experiences to date. 31 miles goes to London!
Thank you so much for checking out this post and reading about what we do in our free time! If you couldn't already tell, our favorite use of our free time is capturing NYC for Penny & Dash ;)
Love Always, Jessica & Melissa