the latest, Uncategorized

true life: my 9-5 is killing me

I have always craved stability. When I graduated from college, all I wanted in the world was a standard 9-5 job. Though I didn’t land my dream job, I made enough money to pay rent, ball out a little, and still had time to work on my side hustle. I’ve since upgraded to a new position, but still feel like something is missing from my life.

Totally opposite to my craving for stability is my desire for a life worth living–and a fear of “settling.” One full of adventure, envy-inducing Instagram posts, and stories that will shock my grandchildren in 50 years. While I feel so incredibly fortunate to even be employed, I still feel like something is missing. I wish so badly that I would be content working at a desk job and living the suburbs. Life would be so much easier, but I know that it would kill me a little bit.

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When I was still in school, I remember looking at people like Yoga Girl and Chelsie Antos, waiting for it to be my turn to teach yoga in Aruba or go RVing around America with my hot husband. While neither of those things specifically will probably ever happen to me, you get the idea. I wanted to be mildly responsible, get my degree, make some money, and then start exploring the world. Now, I want my life to have a little more purpose: for myself (selfishly), and for others (also kind of selfish).

Until I can start making big moves (i.e. waiting for my lease to run out), I would love to hear your ideas for keeping life exciting in the space between M-F, 9-5.

Follow new york is my boyfriend on Instagram.

**Check out my updated (and very professional) portfolio

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places, Uncategorized

no fail* travel tips

I’m not going to try to sell myself as a cool, hip globetrotter. You may or may not know that I spent a semester abroad my junior year and managed to visit 8 countries in ~5 months, and I’ve been to like 40 states in America (including Alaska and Hawaii, so THERE) thanks to my parents’ shared passion for domestic travel and national parks.

In my 22 years of traveling, I like to think I’ve picked up a few (almost) no fail tips and tricks for making every journey a success–whether you’re with your family or your drinking buddies.

1. For the love of God, don’t get on a tour bus.

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Ok, ok, that was a little dramatic. I’ve done my fair share of bus tours on family trips, and they definitely come with pros and cons. If you’re in a foreign country (where you don’t speak the language) for a limited amount of time, a tour bus could be a good option. You won’t have to spend time trying to understand the local public transit system, and if it’s a “hop on, hop off” kind of deal, it’s basically a free shuttle around the city. But OH MY GOD do not take one in New York. I don’t understand why anyone would come to NYC, look at all the traffic, and decide to hop on a freaking bus. Take the subway, rent a bike, or take a city bus.

2. Go where the Anthropologie is.

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This is a rule of thumb I have for finding cute shopping neighborhoods in large cities. And it doesn’t have to be Anthropologie (if you’re in Amsterdam, try Dille & Kamille), but looking up boutique-y stores like this will usually land you in a trendy, non-commercialized shopping district. Just make sure it’s not far from the city center, because then you’ll probably end up at a mall. Not the worst thing, but you know.

3. STAY! TOGETHER!!

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This is especially important if you’re abroad and can only iMessage/WhatsApp over WiFi! Organize your schedule ahead of time so everyone gets to see what they want without getting separated. And if you must split up, agree on a very specific meeting place. Not “outside of the Louvre” but “in front of the rightmost table at the outdoor cafe on the right side of the third pyramid at the Louvre.” Got it?

4. Back it up.

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My phone is constantly out of storage. Literally twice a week, I’ll try to take a picture and my phone won’t let me. To avoid this problem when traveling, be thorough and back up your whole phone to your iCloud/laptop/hard drive/whatever before a big trip, and then delete the photos form your actual phone so it has room for all your selfies!

Happy trails!!

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eat-a-city, Uncategorized

barcelona

One of my favorite cities in Europe is Barcelona–city-wide afternoon siestas, late-night dancing and cheap sangria? Three of my favorite things in a beautiful city on the beach. When I was deciding where to study abroad, Barca was the only other place I seriously considered besides Amsterdam–and though you probably know I couldn’t be happier with my choice, I definitely wish I had more than 48 hours in this zesty Spanish city.

Among other things, Spain is famous for tapas and paella. On the first afternoon, I was exhausted from dealing with a delayed flight, so my friend and I stumbled to a bustling restaurant that seemed pretty reasonable. We ordered a variety of small plates, like papas bravas and pan con tomate, and some tasty sangria. This meal would be less than memorable if I hadn’t been so damn hungry.barcelona

Spain was one of the places I went in Europe that had a Dunkin Donuts–happy selfies commenced along with an iced latte and sugar-loaded donut. There was one in the train station by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, which we only admired from the outside. One of my only regrets from my adventures abroad is not shelling out the 20 euros for admission into the cathedral.

The weather was incredible when I was there, and we spent a lot of time wandering around the historic district. We went to La Boqueria, a large, incredibly crowded food market, famous for quality Iberico and fresh fruit. We strolled along La Rambla and settled on a place to get paella–definitely got ripped off trying to find authentic food in such a touristy area, but we were dying to sit down and have something cold to drink (more sangria). The supermarket we went to later to get snacks was selling paella for 2 euros a serving. Go figure.

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After a much needed siesta, I forced my travel buddy to rally so we could hit the clubs. The nightlife in Barcelona is right on the beach, and is unlike anything I’ve experienced. The club scene in New York is a game all it’s own, but in Barca, it was come one, come all. Everyone’s there for dancing and good times–and tequila shots.

The next morning, we took a hungover stroll to Park Guell, another Gaudi site that was a little gentler on our wallets–and in walking distance of our Air Bnb. It was super hot that day, and an uphill walk to the park, so we stopped for some slushy drinks.

So, when should I go back?

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eat-a-city, Uncategorized

amsterdam

I could literally talk about Amsterdam forever…and since it’s part of the eat-a-city series, I’m going to! When I originally thought of this series, my idea was more “city in a grocery bag.” But since a lot of the places I’ve travelled to were very short visits, I decided to do more of a food diary…though A’dam is kind of an exception considering I lived, grocery shopped and cooked there.

This blog post is a love letter of sorts to Albert Heijn, the most perfect grocery store in all the world. One of the best parts of living in Amsterdam was the incredibly cheap groceries–they were cheap by American suburban standards, and prices were drastically lower compared to Gristedes/Morton Williams/Fine Fare/every subpar supermarket in NYC. I’m talking loaves of bread for 65 cents, Dutch cheese for a dollar, and insanely delicious salads for $4…granted, the groceries were priced in euros, but the conversion rate was very close to 1:1 when I was there.

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One of my favorite products at AH was the guacamole kits they had in their produce section–it cost just under $3 for two avocados, a lime, a tomato, a chili pepper, garlic, and shallots, a.k.a. everything you need to make your own guac. For perspective, I paid $2.29 for a single avocado at the Tribeca Whole Foods yesterday.

Two very typical Dutch treats that I came to love were stroopwafels and hagelslag. Stroopwafels are wafer-thin waffle cookies sandwiched with a sticky, caramel-like syrup. You could buy a package of 12 for around $1 at the store, but lots of street vendors sell homemade ones the size of your face, hot off the griddle. Hagelslag are like quality chocolate sprinkles–sprinkled on buttered bread is a standard breakfast item in this beautiful country.

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One of my favorite things to eat in Amsterdam was a veggie burger from a little restaurant called Burgerlijk. Wandering around in a hungry daze, I stumbled upon this gem when my friends were visiting over their spring break. I can be particular about veggie burgers…and I’m not sure what this one was made of, but it was incredible. Like, I think about it way too much. The whole thing is super customizable–lots of different cheeses, toppings, and sauces, and their fries are also incredible. I took my meat-eating parents here when they came to visit, and they were impressed with the regular beef burgers.

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I also went to another incredible restaurant when my folks were in town (read: free dinner) called De Vergulden Eenhorn. It’s on the outskirts of the city in a restored farmhouse–honestly as “me” as it gets–and they have just a handful of items on their menu, all of which are exceptional. I always think it’s better for a restaurant to have four entrees that they do really well, rather than ten that are just ok. We went twice because it was so damn good, and I had cauliflower soup, barley risotto, and sea bass. The restaurant makes their own bread, aioli, and hummus, which were also delicious.

found my favorite restaurant. #amsterdam #succulents #local #farmtotable

A post shared by Allison Russo (@nycismyboyfriend) on

What are your favorite Amsterdam eats?

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eat-a-city, Uncategorized

stockholm

My weekend in Stockholm was quaint AF, though since it’s pretty pricy, there wasn’t a whole lot of gourmet dining. Our cottage-style Airbnb was stocked with muesli, milk and coffee, so that’s what I ate for breakfast everyday. On our first day of wandering, we stopped into a pub-style restaurant for lunch, where I had fish and chips, on special for the equivalent of $10 or something. Side note: I probably ate more French fries during my semester abroad than I ever have in my life.

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On the second day in Sweden, we went to Skansen, this super adorable Plymouth Plantation-esque attraction. It’s an open-air museum and zoo, set up in historical Swedish style, with employees dressed in 16th century Swedish garb, and lots of replica farm houses and bakeries are open to wander through. Here, I had some kind of cinnamon roll hot from the oven, and a rye bread sandwich topped with cheese and vegetables.

Sweden is one of three countries I visited that had Dunkin Donuts. We stumbled upon one at a modern mall amidst an ATM card crisis, and there was a massive line for doughnuts. Any New Englander knows that our regional obsession for Dunks is with the coffee–I can count the number of times I’ve eaten an actual doughnut from DD on one hand (not worth the calories). I was sooo happy to get my caramel swirl iced coffee, even though it wasn’t as good as back home.

IMG_1426We popped into a local grocery store one night to get snacks–I got my typical bread and cheese, and also a large amount of Swedish gummy candy. I have a major sweet tooth, and the candy selection here was like Ikea on crack. I bought even more when I got to the airport super early, buying these weird candies called Lakerol (unfortunately, I bought the kind in the cutest packaging which turned out to be horribly bitter black licorice), and a ridiculous amount of Anna’s pepparkakor. These ginger-snap cookies are everywhere back home, but souvenir tins of them were on sale at the airport gift shop so I got some to give my mom.

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eat-a-city

paris

It’s no secret that I love to travel, and nostalgia from my European adventures last year inspired me to create a new series, “eat-a-city.” One of my favorite things about going to new cities was trying the local cuisine, as well as perusing supermarket shelves for groceries that seemed familiar or interesting. I’ve decided to write posts about my favorite eats in each city, starting with Paris.

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My time in Paris as a 21-year-old was a major carb-fest. Baguettes and crepes were eaten at least once daily, supplemented with French cheese and Nutella. On our day trip to Versailles, we brought along bread, cheese and chocolate to have a picnic lunch, and I are Kinder Buenos for breakfast everyday. Kinder Buenos are now my favorite candy bar–it’s like a Nutella-filled chocolate bar, and I honestly don’t understand why they’re so hard to find in America.

Finding affordable restaurants in Paris was also quite difficult for some reason, and I recall having an omelet and French fries for dinner on two occasions. My favorite meal in Paris was, funnily enough, at an Italian place called Sapori di Parma, a hybrid market/deli/trattoria (I discovered this place thanks to a quick Google search for cheap eats near the Eiffel Tower). My friends and I were a bit hesitant about eating Italian food in France, but this place was totally a diamond in the rough. We asked if we could just get one item instead of the three-course menu put in front of us, and the waiter, who spoke a charming mix of French, Italian and English, happily obliged, offering us any pasta dish and a glass of wine for ten euros. I had homemade, half-moon shaped gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce and a glass of white wine.

Found this little Italian gem today. 🍴😋 #eatwelltraveloften #paris #foodie #italianfood #yummyinmytummy

A post shared by Roxana Velazco (@helloitsroxie) on

I really did not love my long weekend in Paris–of course, it was incredible to see the iconic landmarks I’d been dreaming of my whole life, but stepping away from warm, welcoming Amsterdam to a city that detests foreigners wasn’t especially pleasant. I recently told my mom that I’ll only go back to Paris when I have enough money to splurge on a nice hotel and can eat at Michelin-starred restaurants.

Have a must-eat spot in Paris? Let me know here!

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places

who you should follow on instagram (besides me)

If you follow @nycismyboyfriend on Instagram, you might have noticed that I frequently repost photos from other users. I want to be able to post quality content on a frequent, regular basis, so it’s often easier to use someone else’s photo of a mimosa on Sunday morning than it is to shower, get dressed and actually go to brunch (nobody goes to brunch every week, FYI). Plus, I’m kind of busy and don’t always have time to run around taking scenic photos of NYC.

As I’ve been perusing Insta for great photos to have on hand for my posts, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of really amazing (and funny) accounts out there. Here are some of my all-time favorites.

If you have a serious case of wanderlust, follow @LucyLaucht.

Manarola glowing at dusk

A post shared by Lucy Rose Laucht (@lucylaucht) on

Her photos are seriously stunning, and I always have to stop myself from re-posting every image she shares.

If you love food, follow @Food52.

Their dreamy, minimalistic approach to food photos makes for beautiful photos guaranteed to make your mouth water. Food52 also reposts a lot, so it’s a great way to find other accounts to follow.

If you love bright colors, follow @ABeautifulMess.

🌵❤☀ @rclayton #ABMlovesmurals

A post shared by Elsie + Emma A Beautiful Mess (@abeautifulmess) on

ABM is also an amazing site that has tons of craft ideas and recipes, but their Insta feed is an always-welcome pop of color.

If you love NYC, follow @AlyssaInTheCity.

This Refinery29 writer posts great photos of everything from rosé to retro cars, and (of course) beautiful images of New York.

If you need a laugh, follow @GirlWithNoJob.

This is so true

A post shared by Claudia Oshry Soffer (@girlwithnojob) on

There are tons of accounts that share memes and funny text posts (@FuckJerry is also great), but this one is always on point.

 

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