5 Things Laura Loves

5things1 NYC. My City.

As Summer is winding down, I can’t help but feel grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I had to visit beautiful places, spend time with friends and family, and have probably one of my best Summers yet.  I’ve been having a blast and I can’t believe it’s almost over.  The one thing I am looking forward to is Fall in New York which is probably the best time to be here.  Crisp air, Fall foliage, apple cider and sweaters but for now there’s still one more week of Summer and there’s no better time than now to hit up your Summer bucket list.  These were the things I’ve been lovin’ this week.  Happy Weekend!

5things2Ombre Hydrangea

5things3SUP Yoga

5things4Beach essentials

5things5Communal tables at Rosemary’s in the West Village

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Sag Harbor

sagharbor1I really love the small town feel of Sag Harbor.  I’ve been going to Sag Harbor for about 14 years now with my girlfriends from college whose family has a house there.  Fourteen years ago, we would go out for a relaxing weekend to take a break from school.  It was the Hamptons before it was the “Hamptons” and before it became a destination.  Back then, we would go to the beach and cook at home we rarely ventured out.  I didn’t fully appreciate how wonderful Sag Harbor really was until this past weekend when my girlfriend Justine and I went to escape the city life.  What I love about staying at their family house is that you can walk to a private beach and it’s within walking distance to a couple of great eating spots.  We also found a marina where you can rent sail boats, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards.  The house is also special because it holds so many memories of us as young twenty-somethings.  This weekend was probably the best I’ve had all Summer.

We arrived late on Friday night, changed into jammies, drank red wine and ate brick oven pizza from Cappelletti’s and passed out.  That’s my kind of Friday night.  Saturday morning we woke up early, got green smoothies at Jimmy Jim’s, which is this cute deli in Sag Harbor, and spent all the day at the beach.  I mentioned frequently to Justine that even though Sag Harbor is not on the ocean side, it’s still so gorgeous.  There are all these smaller beaches with hardly anyone on them and all these nature preserves.  There is a special small town feeling you get when you’re here probably because there’s still old school delis, old buildings, and locals who have been living there for decades year round.  Of course this feeling fades really fast when you see the Kardashians flying by on a speed boat.  Well, I guess it was our one obligatory Kardashian sighting for the Summer.

Normally, I don’t like to go to restaurants that are “trendy” or hyped up especially in the Hamptons because you end up waiting hours for a table, spending way too much money, and you’re only buying into the “scene.”  Justine suggested we check out Tutto Il Giorno and I thought why not end the day with a nice meal?  We were originally supposed to wait an hour for a table but after getting a glass of wine at the bar, they seated us right away-score!  Don’t you love when that happens?  The meal was yummy.  Mind blowing-no but for the Hamptons, it was really good.  What I did love about the place was the ambiance.  I loved the airy-loft-like feel of the restaurant and the low-lit candle light, it was very romantic.  Sunday we started the morning off with a little stand up paddle board in the bay.  It was Justine’s first time and she couldn’t believe what a great workout it was.  We spent another heavenly afternoon at the beach but we were depressed because we had to drive back home.  I love weekends like these when it’s totally unplanned, chill, and relaxing.  I felt healthy and rested for the coming week.

Sag Harbor will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Weekend at The Shore

theshore1When a girl needs a quick beach getaway without having to make extensive plans in advance and traveling far to get to the destination, the Jersey Shore or “The Shore” like most locals know it, is the solution.  Most people have a stigma against the Shore probably because of all the reality TV shows but the shore that I’ve grown up to know has beautiful and peaceful beaches.  Last weekend, I went to Point Pleasant for the first time for a sisters weekend at the beach.  We rented a room from Rich and Carmen via Airbnb in their gorgeous house which was located on an inlet surrounded by water.  We were able to walk everywhere because the beach was only 3 blocks away and in close proximity to all the restaurants and the boardwalk.

When you only have a weekend at the beach, it’s more about the destination than the journey (this time around).  What I loved most about Point Pleasant was that it was only 1 hour and 30 minutes from Manhattan (plus thirty minutes of traffic).  Because we were able to walk everywhere we didn’t have to worry about parking and everyone who was there seemed to eat on the earlier side like around 6 pm – 7 pm which was great for us since we ate around 8 pm and we didn’t need a reservation anywhere.  The house was located in a sleepy area of Point Pleasant but if we wanted more action and more of a fist-pumping scene, we could walk to Jenkinson’s Boardwalk which we did Saturday night for the fun of it and the whole experience made us feel like kids again.  We played way too many rounds of skee-ball and got prizes like whoopee cushions, slap bracelets, and rubber duckies. I decided it was a good idea to buy a hermit crab only to realize the next day that it probably wasn’t a good idea and the boardwalk was countless hours of people watching entertainment.  Yes, everyone expects this side of the Shore.

The other side which people don’t get to see is the natural beauty of the Shore.  There are so many natural preserves, parks and wildlife.  I didn’t realize that Point Pleasant is a fishing town.  Fishing is so prevalent in the culture there.  There are tons of seafood restaurants around that serve fresh seafood daily.  Two of our favorites were Shipwreck Point which had incredible day boat scallops and the Point Lobster Company which had the best hot lobster roll I’ve ever had.  I found out later that their lobster roll is CT style served hot on a hot dog bun with nothing but butter.  Who knew?

I just felt so fit and healthy while I was there.  Every morning we woke up and went for a run on the beach, ate a healthy breakfast, went to the beach, went swimming, walked everywhere and ate seafood for dinner.  I just love the Shore for a quick beach getaway because the beaches are beautiful, there’s fresh seafood, and for us city dwellers, it’s very close.  I would consider the Shore for your next beach getaway.

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Bibim Naeng Myun

bibimnaengmyun1You know when there’s that one meal or dish that reminds you of someone?  Every time you eat it, it brings back wonderful memories that you’ve had with that person.  For me, the one dish that reminds me of my mom is bibim naeng myun.  Probably because she makes it a lot especially in the Summer and it’s so delicious it brings tears to my eyes but mainly because we’re both obsessed with it.  I’m very dramatic about food if you couldn’t tell.

Bibim in Korean means to mix and naeng myun means noodles so bibim naeng myun is a mixed noodle dish usually with vegetables and protein.  I love it because it’s usually served cold which is so refreshing in the Summer and it’s spicy.  My mom usually makes hers with vegetables and pickled cucumbers but you can add meat to it if you want and because we’re Asian, we top it off with a hardboiled egg.

It’s so easy to make and is a crowd pleaser because it’s gluten free and can easily be prepared vegan or vegetarian.  I like making mine with raw seasonal vegetables for that extra crunch.  Bibim naeng myun is one of my favorite healthy Summer time meals and it reminds me of my mama every time.

Ingredients:

Recipe serves 2

  •  1 lb buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1 ½ tablespoon gochujang (red pepper paste)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ English cucumber, julienned
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mache

Directions:

  1. Boil the water and cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.
  2. In the meantime, wash and cut all the vegetables. Hard boil 1 egg. I bring the water to a boil. Once it starts boiling, I put the egg in the water and time it for 12 minutes. I immediately submerge the egg in cold water.
  3. When the noodles are done, I immediately rinse them off with cold water. I put the noodles back in the pot and mix in the gochujang, sesame oil, tamari, and rice wine vinegar.
  4. I serve the noodles in a bowl with the vegetables and ½ of the hardboiled egg.

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5 Things Laura Loves

corntomatoes1 {Roasted corn and heirloom tomato salad via this post}

Today’s August 1st and the Summer is nearing its end.  What better way to celebrate the weekend than fitting in your favorite Summer activities?  This is the time of year when I become sleep deprived because all I want to do is be outside, have long dinners, drinks with friends, and take weekend trips.  This week I needed to calm down and recuperate from the last couple of weeks…so I only drank rosé two nights this week (don’t judge).  I worked out, went to bed early, drank green juices and I have to say that this is the first time in a while where I feel awesome!  Well, I can always detox my life in the Fall.  These were the things I’ve been lovin’ this week.  Have a great weekend everyone!

5things2{Sailing towards Lady Liberty}

5things3{Epic sunsets on the Hudson River}

5things4{Major hair flipping}

5things5{Picnics on the beach | Photo found on Pinterest}

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The Berkshires

berkshires1Every year, for the last ten years, my college girlfriends and I go away for a weekend trip. We make it a priority to commit to one weekend every year despite having hectic schedules, husbands, boyfriends, babies, and other life commitments.  This year, I thought it would be fun and relaxing to have a weekend in the Berkshires away from the city life.

I found this quaint and charming cabin in Pittsfield, MA through Airbnb.  It was the perfect house for us.  It was small, cozy, newly renovated and super clean (message me if you want details).  I love renting a house versus a hotel because you can cook together and hang out comfortably together.

We arrived on Friday evening just in time for the most amazing dinner at Elizabeth’s.  They source all their ingredients locally and make this unforgettable salad.  I’m still dreaming about that salad.  Elizabeth’s is literally in a house by the railroad tracks but don’t let appearances fool you, the food is incredible.  The next day, we canoed on Onota Lake which felt more like a team building exercise and went hiking in Pittsfield State Forest.  At night, we drank wine and played games.  It was the perfect weekend.

Whenever I’m with these girls, I feel like I’m in college again.  It was so wonderful to reconnect with girlfriends in this serene locale.  We all went back to our lives refreshed, renewed, and twenty-two again.

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5 Things Laura Loves

5things1{Canoe adventures}

These past couple of weeks have been pure Summer bliss.  My best friend is back in nyc for a month and it’s been non-stop girl bonding and doing fun Summer activities.  Last weekend, I told her that if I took a snapshot of happiness to me, it would look like the last few weeks of being together with friends and family, cooking together, eating outside, playing in the grass, dogs running around the backyard, laughing until our stomachs hurt, catching fireflies, having sing-a-longs, canoe adventures, and sleepovers.  I feel truly blessed to have all these incredible people in my life who inspire me and have been there for me through thick and thin.  You all know who you are and you’re always my number one favorite thing.  These are the things I’ve been lovin’ this week.  Happy Friday!

5things2{Camping on the beach | Photo from Pinterest}

5things3{Saturday mornings in bed | Photo source}

5things4{Glamping | Photo source}

5things5{White clam pizza from The Contented Sole in Maine}

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Cabbage Island, Maine

cabbageisland1The best part of my yearly trip to Maine is going back to my favorite haunts (read here).  One of the things that was on our bucket list was to go back to Cabbage Island for dinner. For me, there’s no better way to spend an evening in Maine than being outside and eating dinner at a clambake.  For my best friend, who worked at Cabbage Island for 2 Summers in a row, it was a trip down memory lane.

The trip to Cabbage Island starts with a picturesque boat ride that departs from Boothbay Harbor.  It’s a short boat ride but you get to see a little bit of the beautiful Maine coastline. When you disembark onto the island, the Moore family welcomes you like you’ve been friends forever.  You can’t help but notice the buzzing scene:  All the passengers scatter to the picnic tables, the young bright-eyed servers scurrying across the lawn with drink orders, kids running around having the time of their lives, and everyone looking genuinely happy to be there.

They cook the clambake in a traditional “Down East” way in seaweed, steamed from the top to bottom, covered with tarpaulins and rocks.  This method cooks the seafood perfectly and keeps all the sweetness intact.  The bell rings twice once for the New England fish chowder and the 2nd for the lobsters, steamed clams, corn-on-the-cob, and potato.  The meal ends with an epic blueberry cake.  Needless to say, the meal is a feast and it’s the best clambake experience I have ever had.

Nothing says quintessential “Maine” than a clambake on Cabbage Island.  It’s my bucket list item for Maine and you have to experience it for yourself.

cabbageisland2{The entrance to the island}

cabbageisland3{The dinner line}

cabbageisland4{Clambake dinner}

cabbageisland5{Lobster time!}

cabbageisland6{Gorgeous sunset}

cabbageisland7{My favorite time of day}

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Weekend in Maine

maine1I’ve been to many places in the world and it’s rare that I would go to a place more than once.  Maine is one of those places where I want to go every year.  It’s one of my favorite getaways during the Summer.  It’s hard to describe what makes it so magical, you kind of have to experience it for yourself.  It could be the beautiful coastline, the amazing seafood, or the easy pace of life.  Whenever I’m in Maine, I have my list of things I need to do when I’m there.  These are just a few of the things I did last weekend in Maine.

maine2Ate the most delicious Pemaquid oysters at The Contented Sole

maine3Saw the Maine coast on a canoe

maine4Went to Cabbage Island for dinner

maine5Ate a feast at the clambake on Cabbage Island

maine6Watched the magnificent sunset

maine7Then saw the Super Moon

maine8Ate the most delicious and plump pancakes at the Damariscotta General Store

maine9Acted like a kid in the candy store at the Damariscotta General Store

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