All Posts By

laviedelee

Travel

Best of Breckenridge

IMG_7148

Last month I went on a snowboarding trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. Not only was this my second time ever on a snowboard (the first time being a month earlier on a trip to Minnesota), but this was also my first time on the west coast – and this perfect little mountain town stole my heart. Needless to say, if Breckenridge isn’t on your winter vacation list, it will be after this. Here are the top six things to do in Breckenridge during winter:

1. Snowboarding/skiing 

IMG_7202

Obviously! You can’t talk about Breckenridge without mentioning the mountain that makes it the magical town it is. This was my first time ever snowboarding on a real mountain (since the ones in Minnesota were more like hills), and I was pretty nervous. But it turns out that Breckenridge is a pretty great place for beginners, and it definitely didn’t hurt that I had some amazingly patient friends teaching me. I mainly stuck to peak 8, specifically Springmeier, especially in the beginning. Over time I did venture out to other peaks, but Springmeier was definitely where I felt most comfortable. As for lift tickets, if you know you’re going to be hitting the slopes more than once, I suggest purchasing a lift pass in advance (and I mean way in advance). The earlier you buy it, the cheaper it will be. Even though we were in Breckenridge for a full week, I opted for the Epic 4-Day pass so that I would also have time to explore the town (and I knew my sore body would need a break!).

2. Breckenridge Brewery & Pub

IMG_7188

IMG_7186

This is one of the best local breweries in the country – making it a must on anyone’s Breckenridge to-do list. Right on Main Street, Breckenridge Brewery & Pub offers amazing beer selections and even better food. You HAVE to try the Artichoke & Avalanche Ale Dip. The Elk Meatloaf and Slow-Roast Pork Sandwich were also big hits for people in our group. As for beer, my two favorites were Avalanche Ale and Agave Wheat. Apres Ski, the drinking tradition that follows a day of skiing, is also celebrated here with $6 pitchers between 4 and 6 p.m.

3. Empire Burger

IMG_7187

Craving a juicy burger? This restaurant has you covered! Their Guacamole Bacon Burger is to die for, and they have a top-notch drink menu to go with it! I had the Mercadito (pictured above), which is a margarita with fresh lime, jalapeño and cilantro. And don’t forget to try one of their infamous hard shakes for dessert.

4. Dogsledding

IMG_7337

FullSizeRender

IMG_7192

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 3.00.55 PM

 

If this isn’t a true Colorado experience, I don’t know what is! Dogsledding was the highlight of our Breckenridge trip (for me, at least) and a completely unforgettable experience. We took a 6-mile tour along the winding trails of the Swan River Valley, where we switched off between running the dogs (and yes, I mean physically running at some points), riding in the dogsled and riding on a small passenger sleigh with our guide. I would 100 percent recommend booking a dogsledding tour with Good Times Adventures to anyone visiting Breckenridge – I mean, how could you not want to hangout with these adorable Siberian Huskies?

5. Snow Sculpture Championships

IMG_7189

Every year snow artists from around the world compete in Breckenridge at the International Snow Sculpture Championships. The sculptures start as 12-foot-tall, 20+ton blocks of snow, and teams compete using only hand tools over a five-day span. Afterwards, the sculptures stay up for a week (weather permitted) at the Riverwalk Center for visitors to view! My favorite, pictured above, won the People’s Choice 2016 award.

6. Onsie run

IMG_7209

IMG_7134

IMG_7131

What better way to end our Breckenridge snowboarding trip than with a onesie run! Luckily for us, we had pretty good weather and a lodge that we could board directly down to so we didn’t have too worry about freezing our buns off for too long.

Travel

Thanksgiving Weekend in New York City

10882190_1050243534992943_309338652079100981_n

For the second year in a row, I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving in New York City with my younger sister, Angie. Last year, while I was interning in the city, she came and stayed with me in Manhattan. This year she got to see the best of both worlds – the city and Hoboken (aka the better part of the world). From finding a place to eat Thanksgiving dinner to Black Friday shopping and sight seeing, there were so many adventures that quickly filled up our schedule. And after two years of spending the holiday weekend here, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two. So if you’re considering a city getaway for next year’s holiday, check out all the activities we did each day for the best Thanksgiving weekend in NYC.

THURSDAY

It’s almost always cheaper to fly the morning of Thanksgiving rather than the day before. Last year Angie flew in super early so we could go to the Macy’s Day Parade, which we decided to pass on this year (standing outside for hours and hours in the cold? No, thanks). This year she arrived at my apartment around one. After we fueled up on homemade chili (you’re welcome, Angie) we went to the city right away. We spent our day sipping coffee and strolling around the upper east side. We, of course, stopped by The Met to take pictures on the steps (cue the Gossip Girl opening music).

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 1.45.01 PM

After walking around for a few hours, stopping to snap pictures of Central Park’s colorful trees, Macy’s holiday windows and other decorated store fronts, we eventually made our way back to New Jersey – mainly because almost everything was starting to close, if not closed already, for the holiday. We had an hour before our dinner reservation so we decided to stop at a bar right near the Hoboken PATH (it was actually the only open bar around). Lucky for us, Hotel Victor Bar & Grill has happy hour every night of the week until 8 p.m. Thanks for the pre-dinner buzz, Hotel Victor!

Before I get into our dinner details, I should start by saying I’m not a huge Thanksgiving-food fan. My sister on the other hand, could probably eat turkey and mashed potatoes every night. Since there was only two of us, we went out to eat both years. Last year we ate at Pera Soho, an elegant Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of Soho. For $49 per person, we each got a three-course meal. We both went with the Roasted Pumpkin Soup as an appetizer (delicious!) and the Traditional Whole Roasted Turkey as an entree (eh). The sweet potatoes that the entree came with were delightfully sweet, but I definitely could have gone without the turkey. It was a bit dry, and even my Thanksgiving-loving sister agreed. For dessert Angie got Pumpkin Pie, and I got something chocolate (obviously).

This year I made reservations at The Brass Rail, a modern American restaurant with an old-school charm in Hoboken. For a prix fixe of $45 a person, we would each get three courses. What first attracted me to this Thanksgiving menu was the amount of different options they had for each course, and when I saw they had steak as an entree.. game over. For an appetizer I ordered the Roasted Chestnut Soup, which was scrumptious in all its creamy goodness.

Photo Nov 29-7

Angie ordered the Lolla Rosa Salad, which had candied pecans, raisins, goat cheese and a tangerine-honey vinaigrette. It was so good she ended up eating almost all of it instead splitting both of the appetizers like we had agreed on (rude). She ordered the Roasted Turkey Dinner, and I got the Grilled Filet Mignon.

Photo Nov 29-9

Photo Nov 29-8

FRIDAY

Being in NYC for Black Friday can be magical or horrible, depending what type of person you are. If you’re a big shopper, like both my sister and I, and don’t mind crowds (and I mean really big crowds) then it’s definitely the place to go. And if you’re an avid Black Friday shopper then you know in order to take advantage of big department store sales, like Macy’s, you definitely need to go early!

We took the PATH to 33rd street and walked over to 5th avenue, where we started our fashion-focused journey. We stopped in many, many stores – like H&M, Zara and Top Shop, just to name a few. My favorite stop of the day (on the corner of 38th and 5th) was Lord & Taylor, which is actually the oldest luxury department store in North America. They had clothing up to 50% off (on top of their already pretty amazing sales) and tons of shoes up to 20% off – aka heaven.

When we got to E 40th street, we decided to take a break and headed to Bryant Park for their yearly Winter Village.

IMG_6510 IMG_6509

If you’ve never been before, this is a MUST. More than 120 merchants – selling art and crafts, jewelry, clothes, house hold items and more – fill the park through early January. There’s also a ton of vendors with comfort foods (like Super Mac + Cheez at kiosk L4) and delicious treats (like Woops! Macarons & Cookies at kiosk 9).

IMG_6468

Photo Nov 29-5

Southwest Porch (located near the southern end of the Fountain Terrace) is the perfect place to grab a cup of hot chocolate, kick back and relax around a fire pit. Seats around the pit are a hot commodity, but the surrounding tables have near-by heat lamps so you’ll be toasty no matter what. It was oddly warm this Thanksgiving week so we opted for iced lattes from a cute bakery and cafe called Le Pain Quotidien (located just north of the Fountain Terrace on the 6th Avenue side of the park).

IMG_6470

Photo Nov 27

After Bryant Park, we continued up 5th Avenue until we got to 59th street. We headed west, walking through Central Park to get to our next destination: The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

IMG_6466

Photo Nov 29-11

SATURDAY

Saturday was actually Angie’s birthday (woo!), and the one place she wanted to go celebrate at was The Sugar Factory. The Sugar Factory is known for their 60 oz. goblet “candy” drinks. It’s $36 for one drink, which is pricey but definitely in line with typical meatpacking district prices. Plus, the drink is big enough to split between two people! We chose the Passion Punch drink, which was poured over a goblet glass of dried ice, creating a smokey effect. The drink itself was super sweet, but we were expecting that being in a “candy” restaurant and all. Since we weren’t super hungry but knew we needed to eat something, we ordered a side of fries to split. The manager was kind enough to offer us a free dessert (to which we gladly accepted and dipped our fries in shamelessly). The dessert was a platter (literally) of ice cream and delicious toppings. They even put a sparkler in it and sang to Angie for her birthday!

Photo Nov 28

IMG_6461

From there we walked a few short blocks to the Chelsea Market, one of my favorite places in that area. It’s a block-long indoor marketplace with SO MUCH inside – retail stores, knick-knack shops, flower stands, bakeries, urban eateries, grocers and even a wine vault!

10891968_1050243141659649_3271754806983907024_n

IMG_6467

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 1.48.11 PM

A few of the places I’ve really enjoyed eating at in the market are: Farm to Table, Chelsea Thai and Doughnuttery. If you need something to quench your thirst, stop by The Filling Station for a craft beer in a cute mason jar, which you get to keep for an extra $2. Later that night after grabbing a slice (OK.. a couple slices) of pizza from Basile’s Pizza in Hoboken, Angie and I walked along Washington Street popping in different local bars here and there.

SUNDAY

Come Sunday, we were exhausted. After catching up on some much needed sleep, we snacked on goodies and coffee at Choc O Pain, a French bakery and cafe in Hoboken. We got a chocolate croissant and a ham and cheese quiche to split (which were both phenomenal), along with two milky lattes. We stayed there for quite some time before hitting the local boutiques. Although there’s a ton of different shops in the area, my top three favorite are: Dor L’ DorDear Hannah, and Ruby and Jenna. If you walk along Washington Street, you can’t miss them! We also walked along the river to get some city skyline views. If you’re looking for the BEST skyline view and some pretty good food to go along with it, make a reservation for a patio table at The Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City – I promise you won’t regret it. Angie and I both really wanted to go, but we were honestly still so tired and still pretty full from our bakery treats earlier that day.

FullSizeRender-2

So instead, we picked up some cheese (gouda and brie), olives and a bottle of Pinot Grigio for two. If you’re as obsessed with cheese and wine as we are then you absolutely need to check out Cheese + Wine. It’s a little bit of a hike from Washington street but definitely worth it, and the customer service is fantastic. We ended our perfect holiday weekend together with a glass in hand, relaxing on the couch watching Netflix (so basic, I know); and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way or with anyone else (awwww).

IMG_6514

Food

Crock-Pot Creations: 4-Ingredient Chicken Tacos

crock-pot creations

The busy lifestyle of a “twenty-something-year-old” does not always leave much time for cooking gourmet meals. And sometimes the last thing you want to do when you get home from work is spend hours preparing dinner (am I right?) so that’s where the crock-pot comes in. Here’s one of my go-to weekday meals: 4-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds chicken breasts

1 1.25 ounce packet taco seasoning

2 tablespoons chicken broth

1 16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa

chicken tacos 2

Instructions:

1. Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the crock-pot.

2. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the chicken.

3. Pour chicken broth on top (this will prevent the chicken from getting dry).

4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours

5. Just before serving, use two forks to shred the chicken.

6. Serve with desired toppings. (My favorites are cheese, lettuce and avocado).

chicken tacos 1

Fashion & Beauty

Style Spotlight: Vests

vests

Layering is one of my favorite things about Fall style, and what better way to layer than with a vest? This one garment is an ideal cover up for transitional weather – not to mention how chic it can make almost any outfit look. These are the four best women’s vest styles to wear for Fall 2015:

1. Long Vest – Call it a sleeveless jacket or coat, but this is one piece you’re definitely going to want to add to your wardrobe. Throw it over a a crisp blouse and black pants for an instant fall-look. Don’t just take it from me… Check out Selena Gomez‘s super trendy long vest outfit.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 10.23.09 PM

2. Quilted Vest – Everyone needs a good quilted vest in their closet. My favorite is from J. Crew, but if you’re on a budget there are plenty of other options out their. I found a few super cute ones from AmazingLace.com. For a preppy look, layer it over a plaid button down shirt and jeans.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 10.25.50 PM

3. Fur Vest – Although you may need to wait until it gets slightly chillier, a fur vest is indispensable. I like to wear mine over shiny leggings and a grey long-sleeve top. For a more dressy look, wear it over a long-sleeve body con dress and black booties.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 10.26.54 PM

4. Knit Vest – This vest is so comfy, you may not want to talk it off all fall. Throwing this vest over a tee and leggings is a modern way to update a classic style.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 10.28.03 PM