Where you can find some of the best views in NY

This 17 mile long state park is worth all of the hype. Letchworth State Park, also known as the Grand Canyon of the east includes 3 waterfalls, restaurants, hiking trails, and no shortage of spectacular look-outs requiring zero effort to enjoy.

It was named after William Pryor Letchworth who fought until he died to preserve the natural beauty of this land. Before he passed, he gave the land and estate to the State of NY to be used as a public park to ensure its preservation.

For $10/car, I’d say we got our money’s worth. I was lucky enough to spot a double rainbow above middle falls, my personal favorite of the 3 waterfalls.

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Great bend look out was the first spectacular overlook that I remember and looking back at the pictures, I see why it was so memorable. I’d say don’t look down, but then you would miss the view! 😉

 

FOOD AND DRINKS:

There is a restaurant and Inn on site formerly belonging to Mr. William Letchworth himself. His old country estate is now the Glenn Iris Inn. In Greek, Iris actually translates to rainbow. The fact that I witnessed a double rainbow above middle falls, just adds to this already amazing trip.

 

Highly recommend the Almond Joy cold brew cocktail. After hiking over 300 stairs on a 90 degree day, it brought me back to life. There was whipped cream and a cherry on top, but it looks like I consumed it before I decided to snap the pic. The strawberry daiquiri was a little too icy for my taste, I prefer a much smoother blend. The cajun-style burger with bacon was phenomenal. Although there was air conditioning indoors, for some reason we ate outside on the patio (not my decision).

 

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Like this NY adventure? Then you would also like this ADK Island camping experience.

"Appreciating the outdoors is something I think everyone should work on. The natural beauty of the world breeds happiness." -E

Travel to New Orleans

New Orleans aka NOLA is not your ordinary American city. It’s just, well.. New Orleans. Between the French quarter, Mardi Gras, voodoo talk, crawdaddy’s, and jazz music, there is a lot you need to know about New Orleans.

Donkey rides and gold painted “statue” men. Just another day in NOLA.

»BEIGNETS [ben-yeyz] — A must While in NOLA & where to get them 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

So my sister and I actually lived there when we were younger. I remember getting beignets (french donuts) in the French quarter and watching the factory pump them out. I don’t recall a lot from when I was younger, but I could never forget those yummy dough balls of happiness topped with powdered sugar. Maybe you have heard of the famous Café Du Monde French for “cafe of the world” or “the people’s cafe.” It is the place to go get beignets while in New Orleans. This café with a long line down the road is famous for a reason annd I just realized I could talk about beignets all day long.

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Another place I was particularly impressed with is Café beignet. It is less busy than Café Du Monde, and in my opinion, just as good. Another great thing about this little café, is that they serve up more than just beignets. They also serve breakfast, lunch & most importantly (after beignets of course), cocktails. My sister and I enjoyed our food outdoors. I highly suggest you don’t leave without trying both cafe’s.

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“Beignet, done that,” Mimosas anyone?

»FOOD FAVES

  • Po boy — Traditional New Orleans Sandwich.
  • Beignets — French donut.
  • Pralines — Hard to explain, but essentially it’s a sugar & pecan fudge-like treat. It is not exactly like fudge though because if you try a really good praline, they are actually not chewy. Don’t buy the “famous” Aunt Sally’s brand. They are not good at all. Spend the extra money & buy fresh at a souvenir shop downtown. You’re welcome in advance.
  • Banana’s Foster — A few ingredients… bananas, ice cream, & rum. Why yes “I’ll have 32 to-go please.”
  • Gumbo — Stew with Seafood, chicken, okra, or sausage.
  • Crawdaddy’s aka Crawfish — Not for me, but so popular there.
  • Jumbalaya — Usually a spicy sausage and rice dish.
  • King Cake — Famous during Mardi Gras. A delicious Danish pastry.

»WHERE TO STAY

  • In French Quarter (get your wallet out — it’s expensive, but probably worth it)
  • Anywhere near the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (right near the Mississippi River — for stunning views)

— OR —

We stayed at Le Pavillon Hotel, which is only a few blocks from the French quarter. A decently cheap alternative to staying directly in the French Quarter. I would have probably liked being closer because you walk a lot as it is in New Orleans, but I really enjoyed my stay there. They had a PB & J hour at around 10pm every night where there were mini PB & J sammies served with hot cocoa. It is the little things. The rooms were nothing fancy by any means, but the hotel itself is stunning! The dining/bar experience was exquisite. Did I mention the rooftop pool?

»Fave New Orleans drank — Daiquiri from Big Easy Daiquiri’s. It’s a must.

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Helpful Tip: Do not get the extra shot. Not because you don’t want it, but because it is now no longer the perfect consistency of a slushy. It’s watery. 

»TO DO«

Do A Guided Tour:

There is no shortage of tours in New Orleans. I’m talking historic tours, ghost tours, drinking ghost tours, swamp tours, cemetary tours, walking drinking tours, riding drinking tours, donkey tours, food tours, boat tours, sober tours. LOL.

Since this was a sister-bonding trip, we did a walking-drinking-ghost tour. It was pretty awesome. We went to one of the oldest bars around, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop located on the famous Bourbon St. — serving up drinks since the 1700’s. Trip advisor is honestly the best for looking at all of the types of tours before traveling there because you can read reviews and prices, etc. To check out the types of tours click here.

Go to a Festival:

Just like there are no shortages of tours, the same can be said for NOLA festivals.

My sister and I went to the Bayou Boogaloo —  3 day music & arts festival in late May. Get there by trolly. Includes: several stages with different kinds of music. TIP: Bring sunscreen because even though it is in May, it is boiling hot and they charge an ungodly amount of money for sunscreen. Also, bring a floaty!

Explore:

Don’t forget to just walk around and listen to the smooth jazz on the side of the street! One of the best things about New Orleans — music and art is everywhere.

Audubon Aquarium:

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Highly recommend. Cool experience and probably the best aquarium I have been to thus far. There is an option to package together the zoo, insectarium, and aquarium for a decent price, but I didn’t want to see insects. So the aquarium it was.

Walk along the Mississippi River right on the strip by the aquarium — the views are absolutely breath taking. There is art and music in every single corner.

In summary — New Orleans is amazing and you should go. Hope this was helpful 🙂 Looking for another cool place to vacay? Try visiting Old Montréal.

xo,

-E

Every Body Is Beautiful

Café at 407

A café with a cause.

MaryEllen created Ophelia’s Place — a nonprofit organization that helps individuals struggling with disordered eating, eating disorders and body dissatisfaction. They offer support services, treatment programs, education and community for anyone struggling. Some of Ophelia’s Place is funded by this amazing little café on Tulip St. in Liverpool, NY. Café at 407 is a coffee shop created for the sole purpose of funding this treatment center. The café supports Ophelia’s Place with the belief that EVERY BODY IS BEAUTIFUL. 

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Circles of Change is an outreach movement that was created by Ophelia’s Place to change the culture and conversation around health, beauty and body image. Its goal is to help people reach their full potential and ultimately CHANGE diet culture and skewed standards of beauty, with the end goal of putting an end to eating disorders, disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.

I love the mission of Circles of Change and while blogging at Café at 407, I found some inspiration.

I gave $15 today to help someone struggling — I gave someone hope.

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Buy this shirt

Want to get involved? Click here to give back OR give to the cause by purchasing a shirt with a message of empowerment for you or someone you love + become a part of something bigger while supporting families and communities impacted by eating disorder, disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.

For another way you can get involved, become a Warrior for Change. After much thought and consideration, I took the first step to become a Warrior by taking the pledge.  

👉🏼Take the pledge with me 👈🏼

I choose to:

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I choose to accept every body

I am a warrior for change

You can also get involved with different “circles creating change.” You can become a Movement Warrior, Wellness Warrior, Community Warrior, Parenting Warrior or Media Warrior. Whatever your interest, there is an empowering community circle you can join to find tips and tricks to change the conversation and culture within those interest circles.

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Additional information on Ophelia’s Place:

  • Ophelia’s Place was established in 2002
  • It is a national leader in redefining beauty & health
  • 100% of the profits from Circles of Change products (like the “Be Brave” shirt above) goes directly to supporting the cause, Ophelia’s Place.
  • Every coffee and baked good at Café at 407 supports the movement and the cause
  • Even employees tips go directly toward supporting the cause

Not only are they behind a great cause, but the desserts are handmade every day and phenomenal! The menu is also worth mentioning — serving up local coffee and tea, paninis, grain bowls, salads, smoothies and more. They try to source all of their food locally as much as possible. One of the absolute best of Liverpool, NY! If nothing else, just stop by and enjoy a cup of with a side of coffee cake; they would love to have you!

Something new every day, YUM.

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XOXO

 

-E

Guide to Huntsville, Alabama

Fun Things to do:

Big Spring Park

 

This is a very well-kept park in the middle of the city. My mom took me here and we honestly had a blast! So there is a pretty large canal with a ton of fish in it! We fed the fishies for .25 cents. Before you leave Huntsville, you must see.

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If you follow the canal, you will run into a big staircase. There you will find The Cozy Cow, an ice cream parlor/restaurant that is just as cozy as it suggests. It has a nice little patio to enjoy your panini, burger, sandwich, or ice cream outside.

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If you head upstairs, you will find an Irish Pub named Keegan’s Public House with a partial outdoor  bar and a few patio tables as well. Great place to stop for a beer with a nice park view.

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At the top of the stairs, you can consider yourself downtown Huntsville! Tired from all the walking? I got you covered. Honest Coffee downtown is where you need to be. A snug little cafe with a garage door that opens up with plenty of outdoor seating. Met with baked goods and coffee with a welcoming atmosphere!

Tons of other great restaurants and bars close by, but my favorite thing we did next and it doesn’t include food (I know, surprising.)

Harrison Brother’s Hardware 

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110 year old register (that still works!)

Doesn’t sound like much, right? Well, this is not just any hardware store — it is actually the first of its kind (in Alabama).

It was founded in 1879 by two brothers named James and Daniel Harrison and it remained in the family until the illness of John Harrison in 1983. The Historic Huntsville Foundation purchased it from the Harrison family and has vowed to preserve it ever since.  From the original creaky wooden floors to original items still on the shelves, this is certainly one of the most unique historic sites I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Nowadays, Harrison Bros. Hardware is a souvenir shop of sorts run solely by passionate and knowledgable volunteers. They sell magnets, real cotton wreaths, pottery, knickknacks, and more. The lady at the counter took the time to explain the whole history all the while showing us old pictures of the Harrison brothers.

Botanical Gardens

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I would recommend visiting the Botanical Gardens only if you have kids. While it is very pretty, it is definitely more kid-oriented. Lots of kids activities and attractions, hay rides, kid art, etc. My favorite part was the butterfly habitat because I have never been to one.

Nothing Bundt Cakes

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Seriously clever name! If you have ever had a bundt cake, then you know exactly what they have to offer. They sell little bundtlets (mini bundt cakes) as well as regular sized bundt cakes. I bought two bundtlets — one funfetti, and one pecan praline. Both were super moist with just the right amount of frosting. I am actually really happy there is not one located near me because I would practically live there. They had a pumpkin spice to sample which was equally as good as the ones I purchased! They also do special occasion cakes which I think is awesome because it’s different from the usual birthday cake and we all know I am obsessed with unpopular ideas. Check my unpopular special occasion idea in a recent blog post: Just Donuts.

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Green Mountain Nature Trail

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You know you’re in Alabama when there is a chapel in the middle of the woods!

Green mountain nature walk is a 1.5 mile nature trail. So it’s a beautiful and easy trail to enjoy the outdoors away from all of the hustle and bustle. With a super nice and informative employee at the park entrance, it made this my second favorite thing to do in Huntsville. The best part? It’s free! I always love getting out of the city for a little while just to breathe in the fresh air. Another park with great reviews that I didn’t get a chance to explore is Monte Sano State Park. Let me know how it is!

Well y’all that about wraps it up for Huntsville, AL. What an amazingly clean city with plenty to do, and obviously filled with loads of southern charm! Good to know: They call Huntsville “rocket city” because it is home to the US Space and Rocket Center.

xoxo Follow my Instagram journey here.

 

-E

 

 

The Best Food in Montréal

Where/What to Eat:

Those of you who know me, know that I have a deep love for food, probably deeper than the love I have for most humans. I did extensive research and strolled the streets of Montréal to find THE best food Montréal has to offer. Remember everyone speaks french in Montréal, but everyone also speaks English — thankfully, (since my bi-lingual skills are non-existent). Some restaurant menus are not in English so you really don’t know what you’re ordering. Oh the element of surprise. First comes my personal favorite.

1. Jardin NelsonEnglish Meaning = Garden Nelson

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This outdoor restaurant is called garden nelson for the obvious reason: You sit outside to enjoy the beautiful environment. Added bonus? Live jazz every day in the afternoon as well as in the evening. The food = small portions and the chef’s presentation is on point.  Helpful tip: get there right when it opens to avoid lines.  The lemon and rosemary chicken wings and maple glazed ribs were my absolute favorite. You’re welcome.

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You can buy a small pitcher of Sangria for $18, so make sure you bring your wallet. Not that you can tell from my duck face, but It was worth it.

 

2. Pizzeria No 900:

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Pizza is definitely one of my favorite foods, if not my absolute favorite. This bar/pizzeria is comprised of a trendy bar and gold accents making it look super edgy. I’m just as big on environment as well as the food so the first impression here is awesome. This little gem lays claim to the 5th best marinara in the world. After tasting the Margherita pizza, I can see why. I love a good crispy crust that can only be achieved by a brick oven, which is exactly how they make all of their pizzas.

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3. Paris Crepes

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Raspberry + Nutella, ‘Nuff said.

Crepes are a very popular french delicacy. They originated in northwest region of France, so it is no surprise Montréal stays true to its French roots. You can find crepes in almost every restaurant and café. The best place to get a crepe though — is a café that specializes in them. I give you, Paris Crepes. This place is cool for a few reasons. Its convenient location on the famous St. Catherine St. in downtown, Montréal is just one of many. It has a chill environment upstairs with giant open windows to savor your crepes while appreciating the downtown street view. This little café was packed at midnight with drunk people inhaling these things, but I decided to go in the morning for coffee. It was just as busy. It’s Safe to say this place does really well, and rightfully so. Helpful Tip: Bring your wallet, it’s pricy.

 

 

4. Comptoir400

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Pizza, wine, outdoor patio, and located in the heart of Old Montréal. That may have been an $18 glass of wine. Canada is a little expensive, but hey you only live once, YOLO. LOL.

Helpful Tip: **Literally every single restaurant you walk into in Old Montréal is honestly amazing. Every place is beautiful, the food is all amazing, and you can’t go wrong simply walking along near the old port and going to the first restaurant that catches your eye. You couldn’t possibly go to every wonderful restaurant.

 

5. Crescent St. AKA  Rue crescent 

Stumbled upon the BUMPIN’ street while wandering Saint Cathrine street. This is one of the coolest streets in Montreal as it relates to food. So many restaurants/bars and they are all packed out. Bachelorette parties walking by and everyone seems to be having fun. This street is not trashy in the least bit. Le Warehouse looked awesome, though I did not get the chance to go there. I did have a beer at Dundee’s, but I did not eat there. The restaurant/bar draws you in with their alligator sign and lit up torches out front. This street is a must-see.

 

6. Mlle Catherine

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Adding this because I really like ice cream and this place is adorable and so is my bf. Plus there is a little outdoor patio to enjoy your decorative waffle cone.

13 Things to do on VDAY for a Single lady + Recipe

With Valentine’s day here, one might wonder what there is to do as a single lady. I have come up with a list for you.. You’re welcome.

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  1. Listen to Beyonce` —If you like it then you shoulda put a… Never mind.

  2. Go watch 50 shades—Probably with a friend of some sort, yes it still counts if no one else can actually see this “friend”. It’s weird though because you know everyone is going straight home & you know, let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on (awk).

  3. Bake goods all day—like heart-shaped cookies and other red, vibrant desserts. Everyone likes desserts, so that’s an easy win (If you don’t, I don’t think I need your negativity in my life). Trifle recipe below.

  4. Go on a date—yolo. There’s Tinder, and like this thing where you actually can introduce yourself to people face-to-face. Mind-blowing, right?

  5. Hang out with other single friends—If these people even exist.

  6. Drive without a destination in mind—All by Yoseeeelf (Insert song here).

  7. Whine & chill—’Nuff said

  8. Sleep all day, wake up on FEB 15th—Cross that off the bucket list.

  9. Hang with your pet—If you don’t have one, refer to #10.

  10. Go buy a pet

  11. Have a VDAY party for girls only—Including food, dessert, and obviously chick flicks. No, that doesn’t make you a loser.. (ok maybe a little, but I’m not judging you).

  12. Pamper yourself with an at-home spa day or if the bank account agrees, go to a spa—look good, feel good.

  13. Do something spontaneous. Spontaneity is contagious. Ex: Travel to a nearby city and explore. Loserville is my absolute fave.

     

I joke a lot, but seriously there is nothing wrong with being single on V-day. Don’t let this amazing day make you feel unworthy. Remember, no one else is like you. You’re a rockstar. Choose to make today your day! Remember: Girl, the world is at your fingertips, you just have to believe it.

Recipe Time. 👇🏼

The other day my mom called me to tell me that I could open the package she sent me for Valentines Day because she was not available to FaceTime on Valentines Day because of things going on that day (I was supposed to wait until VDAY to open).

eeeek, what did I get?! She said I have to open the card first I’m like “what card?!” “What if it’s not here yet?!” She said “Then you’ll have to wait!” So I ran to check the mail and I see a red card—thank baby Jesus, hallelujurr. So we FaceTime and I open my card which consists of a single recipe card for a trifle dessert. Yes please. I precede to open the package and see a glass trifle bowl! What a thoughtful and amazing gift! I have never actually made a trifle before, but no worries! It was not-so-complicated and it tasted even better than it looked. I made sure to mention she gave me the perfect dessert to blog about. Thank you mom.

Ingredients:

1/4 plus 2/3 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup Fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. Almond extract

1 Angel food cake, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 Pound cream cheese (at room temp.)

2 Cups heavy cream

1/4 Cup water

2 Pints Strawberries

Handful raspberries to top

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Directions:

Heat 1/4 c sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4c water in saucepan over medium-high. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Dip 1-inch angel food cake pieces in the syrup and start layering in trifle bowl. Beat the remaining 2/3c sugar and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth and light. Add heavy cream and mix until consistency of whipped cream. Layer cake cubes, followed by strawberries, and lastly the cream cheese mixture. Repeat layering of cake, strawberries, and then cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

 

-E