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The Best Gifts for the New York City Lover

They say New York is the city that never sleeps. They call New York “the big apple,” a concrete jungle, a feast of culture and life. But those who call Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs home… the heartbeat of this city is enthralling, addicting and… truthfully, soul enriching. Visitors who have also fallen in love with New York know its undeniable charm and grit. If you happen to be shopping for a lover of NYC, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite items and gift ideas. Here’s our gift guide for lovers of New York!

Brooklyn Airline’s Tote

New Yorkers know the feeling well. “I Hate Leaving New York.” Brooklyn Airline’s cheeky tote bag will make New York lovers giggle.  Give your New-York-loving friend a laugh and this handy, screen printed gem of a tote bag so they can wear their favorite city with pride.

A Gift Guide for Lovers of New York

Contribute to the Greater Good with Social Goods

Based in NYC. Social Goods makes bold statements with their awesome designs and every purchase you make includes a donation to a nonprofit driving real change for the issue at-hand. And to better support the work happening on-the-ground, they offer the ability to connect directly with that nonprofit. From additional education and financial contributions to taking action in your community, you can continue to support in a number of ways thrugh purchasing from Social Goods! Some of our favorites are the New York Woman Tee,  the New York Woman Sweatshirt and the New York Tough Hoodie!

Gear by Lower East Side Artisans, New York x New York

New York x New York is the real deal and I absolutely love their products. From stickers to Ts to mugs, their logo makes a statement and we are here for it. Via their website:

“NYNY began in the Lower East Side in a small lounge on Eldridge St, it was one of the last remaining cultural outposts in a neighborhood that has been hit hard by gentrification (colonization). The party began as a way of connecting the past, present, and future of the city — a space for a New York-born generation, the kids of immigrants to the city, and for anyone tied to the community-centered experience we remember as hip-hop. The word was spread about the party through text message only, we trusted that if you got the password and the video flyer, then we could trust you to pass it on to the right people too.

As time has passed the legend has grown and the once underground party that brings you the real NY vibe now sells out shows wherever we go, from Miami to Hong Kong to Tokyo. Home to resident DJ GETLIVE! and superstar guest DJs from Clark Kent to Vashtie to Kid Capri. We’re staying active in 2020 — dropping apparel collabs and expanding our global brand platform with digital experiences. All while laying the groundwork for live activations as soon as the world is ready for us. Be a part of it — NEWYORK NEWYORK.

“New York In Bloom” Book

Only New Yorkers really get to see the city burst into life in all the seasons. But without a doubt, spring is something special in the city that never sleeps. That’s why we’re obsessed with “New York In Bloom” – the perfect hardcover photography book that highlights beautiful floral, botanical details found nestled in the city’s iconic architecture. It’s the perfect coffee table book for a New York lover’s living room.

A Gift Guide for Lovers of New York

Joya’s Foxglove & Âmes Sœurs Candles

For New Yorkers, both native and new residents alike, our apartments are a sanctuary we curate carefully and intentionally. With smaller square footage, each and every item must have a purpose… and have something beautiful to offer. That’s why we’re obsessed with Joya’s candles. They’re gorgeous and their Foxglove candle has a delicious scent we love – think the perfect blend of citrus orange, salt meadow grass, oak, musk and jasmine. As is their Âmes Sœurs candle (which translates to “soul mates”) – the perfect addition to set a cozy, romantic vibe at home. And both are beautiful to look at to boot!

A Gift Guide for Lovers of New York

Baronfig’s NYC Softcover Notebooks & Copper Rollerball Pen

New Yorkers who love an old school notebook to write down their goals, dreams and keep themselves on track will adore Baronfig’s New York City Softcover Notebooks. The hand drawn illustrations of “commute life” in the city are adorable and relatable in the most humorous way! If you’re shopping for a cute set, we love their Copper Rollerball Pen to go with. City slickers know there’s know there’s nothing like whipping out a sleek and sturdy pen to use, no matter if you’re signing off on a receipt or signing your first book deal.

A Gift Guide for Lovers of New York

Pretty City New York

New Yorkers and New-York-obsessed travelers alike will adore this photo journalistic look into the world of “Pretty City New York.” We’ve been obsessed with Instagrammer Siobhan Ferguson’s photos of some of the world’ most famous cities in the world. Through the pages of this book, you’ll get a look into the hidden gems she discovers in the city that never sleeps. Think artisan boutiques, market scenes, quaint alleys and the nooks and crannies of New York that typical tourists may not be aware of. It’s sure to make you want to book a trip to the Big Apple!

A Gift Guide for Lovers of New York

Apolis’s Detachable Handle Market Bag

There isn’t a single market bag we love more than our customizable Apolis tote! Each bag is water resistant (perfect for those rainy bodega stops), made from 100% natural golden jute fiber and made to last. It’s the sturdy, trusty tote bag that can handle any grocery run… and you can feel good purchasing it. The female artisans who handcraft each eco-friendly bag receive Fair Trade wages, annual profit dividends, and a retirement fund.

A Gift Guide for Lovers of New York

Brooklyn Soapworks

We’re absolutely obsessed with Brooklyn Soapwork’s streamlined skincare and handcrafted bar soaps! They pack allllll the skincare you’d ever need in a bar – meaning less waste and more sustainability and incorporate all the same premium oils you’d find in high end skincare lines. We happen to love that each bar is made with love in the good ol’ BK to!

Gift Guide For Lovers Of New York

A Simple NYC Tee

Nothing shows your love for the city more than a classic, simple and cute t-shirt touting its name! This special edition NYC Tee is made from organic cotton slub and embroidered with a custom New York design. But what really makes us proud to wear this comfy and adorable tee is that 50% of the sales go to the NYC Fund for Public Health in their efforts fighting COVID-19. It’s a fashionable way to give back to those who have directly saved lives in our city!

Gift Guide For Lovers Of New York

Adventures Close to New York City

For those who love the city but need a break from the hustle and bustle, we love love this Easy Weekend Getaways in the Hudson Valley & Catskills guide by Carly Fisher.


Food Insider Tips North America

A Brunch-Lover’s Guide to Nolita NYC

In New York City, brunch is not just a meal, it’s a full social event. Entire weekends are scheduled around brunch plans, girls and guys get dressed up for the event, and it can last for hours. Brunch is everywhere in NYC, but in my opinion, Nolita, the tiny neighborhood right above Little Italy, is the best neighborhood for brunch in the entire city. If you, too, are a brunch-lover, then read on to see where the best brunch spots in Nolita are.

The Butcher’s Daughter

New York’s favorite California export has got a stunning location right in Nolita! Lines for The Butcher’s Daughter are always long, but the food is so worth the wait. If you can, snag a seat outside and people watch while you munch on delicious healthy food. The Butcher’s Daughter also has some really good vegan and gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions!

Egg Shop

Egg Shop specializes in, you guessed it, eggs. Inspired by the versatility of eggs and the ubiquity of the universally-loved egg sandwich, Egg Shop was opened by a couple in SoHo and now has an outpost in Williamsburg as well! With cute pastel and minimalistic decor and absolutely amazing eggs, Egg Shop will never do you wrong.

Pietro Nolita

If you’ve ever been on Instagram you have probably seen this Instagram-famous restaurant, but how many have actually eaten inside it? Well I have, and I can vouch for the fact that Pietro Nolita’s food is just as good as their facade. Pietro Nolita serves seasonal Italian cuisine, and is a great spot for brunch when you’re craving a bit of pasta!

Shoo Shoo

Shoo Shoo Nolita does brunch with an Israeli twist. As the founder was the former co-owner of 12 Chairs Cafe, you can be assured that the food at Shoo Shoo is absolutely delicious. They serve everything from shakshuka (which they call Shookshooka) to chicken schnitzel. The store itself is bright and airy, with a contemporary style and plants everywhere.

Charley St

Charley St has got the cutest storefront that opens up to the street in the summer months. Additionally, they have BYOB – build your own bowls. Choose from a base of toast or grains, then add greens, spreads, protein and two toppings. Top it all off with your choice of sauce and you’ve got yourself a custom, delicious, and healthy Australian brunch bowl!

Bluestone Lane

Bluestone Lane is probably the biggest Australian brunch chain in NYC, with many locations scattered around the city. Although they’re all different, they all have amazing clean, minimalist decor, and the Nolita location is no exception The food options are just as delicious as they are gorgeous.


If you’re looking for an Asian twist on brunch, try BoCaphe! BoCaphe is a Vietnamese-French fusion restaurant, with classic brunch options like avocado toast and açai bowls, but they also serve Vietnamese specialities like banh mi’s and pho! The amazing food choices along with the quirky decor makes BoCaphe a place you’ll want to return to again and again.

Ruby’s Cafe

Yet another Australian place for the list, Ruby’s is a super stylish and petite Australian cafe which specializes in burgers and pasta. I can only vouch for the pastas, but I can assure you, they are delicious. Be prepared to wait when you come to Ruby’s, because they don’t take reservations and the interior is pretty small, but the food is worth the wait.

Insider Tips North America

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

I have been to New York City several times – and have stayed all over Manhattan: from Tribeca to the Upper West Side, to Chelsea and even Times Square. This past visit we decided to make the journey across the East River and stay in Brooklyn and see what all it had to offer. If you have done the New York City trip before (which I do admit, first-timers… you need to stay IN the city to get the full NYC experience) then I invite you to make the short hop over the river to see New York in an entirely different light. Here are 5 great reasons that you should!

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

The Vibe

If you have been to Manhattan, I am sure you are familiar with the high paced hustle and bustle that is obvious anytime you step out to the streets. Brooklyn on the other hand, offers a laid-back “cool” vibe that will make you think you are much further from Manhattan than a quick 12 minute subway ride. You won’t be shoulder to shoulder with others on the sidewalks, and the restaurants & shops offer much more space to enjoy than those across the bridge.


DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) seems that it is THE area “to be” as over the years it has attracted artists, tech startups, and is now a hub for a wide range of people, from young families, to musicians, to foodies and restauranteurs. With an eclectic feel, anyone can feel at home in Brooklyn.

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

Unique (And More Spacious!) Lofts & Apartments

If a space with lots of light and warehouse-like feel is your jam, Brooklyn is the place to be! The area has a ton of converted old warehouse buildings made into really amazing lofts. You get more space, comfortable living areas, and even the possibility of a washer dryer IN the unit! Great if you like to pack light and need to wash a few items during your stay.

Airbnb is crawling with great little lofts in Brooklyn – my only suggestion is – to look for something close to a subway stop if you are looking for easy access to the city!

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

The Eats

From quick little sandwich shops, to brick oven pizza’s and even a great little taco shops, Brooklyn has it all! Try the River Cafe – a romantic and cozy little spot along the river with amazing views. Grab a sweet treat from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and walk along the boardwalk admiring the views. But promise me you don’t leave Brooklyn without dining at The Atrium and trying their potato bread. It’s life-changing!

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

The Views

Probably the number one reason you need to at least VISIT Brooklyn at some point in your life is solely to see the views of Manhattan from across the river.

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC 5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

A few suggestions to better enjoy the spectacular view!

1) Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge Park boardwalk during sunset! Manhattan glows as the sun goes down!

2) Grab a drink from the Buzz Bar and just chat with friends as you look out over the water.

3) Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and stop frequently to take photos! It takes about 30 minutes to walk across the length of the bridge, and is so worth the time!

Brooklyn Flea Market

On Sundays, DUMBO is alive with food trucks. Try Jian Bing (their Chinese breakfast crepes – they are to die for!), live music and vintage shop vendors offering a little something for everyone! From clothing, to plants, furniture, toys for kids and more!

5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC 5 Reasons To Stay In Brooklyn When Visiting NYC

Ok now that I hopefully have your mouth watering and your wanderlust engaged… Have I convinced you to book your trip to Brooklyn yet?

Journal North America

A Love Letter To New York from Nora

It’s a strange thing to live out of a carry-on and backpack, filling the days in between flights being homesick for places I’ve never been to – for far off islands with turquoise waters and impossible sunsets setting into orange sand dunes. I’ve lived airplane ticket to airplane ticket for the last 4 years, marking time with passport stamps and suitcase wheels lost to moving sidewalks, moments measured by a compass rather than a clock. Ten consecutive days was the longest I had spent in one place. And then I came to New York.
I was initiated into city life by taking a pigeon wing to the face, and by watching the guy I was on a first date with stride across the bar to kiss another girl within an hour of meeting me. This was what everyone had warned me about – the brutal city that would rip your heart out and throw it in front of a speeding cab. The city of garbage lined streets, the smell of trash spilling out from alleyways and occasionally masking the stench of urine wafting up from hot asphalt. The over-sized rats that dart in and out of subway tracks, an occasional distraction from the honking and the crowds and the relentless loneliness.
And yet, New York, I love you. And I don’t mean that in the colloquial way, but in that ridiculous all-consuming inconvenient can’t live without you kind of way. As Simone De Beauvoir so aptly put it, “there’s something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.” And it takes a certain kind of unconditional love to love living here, despite the potholed streets and absurd prices and the guarantee of noncommittal heartbreak and rejection.
Because in two subway stops, you can travel through twelve countries. From the cannoli lined storefronts of Little Italy, to the rainbow facades of Chinatown and all of the winding alleyways in between that promise adventure. Where every single subway ride is the most random sampling of humanity, people of all walks of life confined to a single space if only for the briefest moment. Where my morning coffee on the fire escape is imbued with dreams emanating from passerby’s skin in an almost tangible, completely irrational way. Because everything about New York transcends rationality.
In my very first blog post in February 2016, I wrote: You see, no one has ever given me a reason to stay in one place. If and when someone does, I’ll know it’s real. I’ll know that I’ll be able to happily call a place home, because sometimes, home isn’t four walls or the familiar curve of your favorite pillow. It’s wherever another soul calls you to return to day after day. Until then, my heart yearns for the unfamiliar and distant corners of this tiny planet that each and every one of us calls home.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that a city could imbue me with the desire to stay put and the impossibly foreign concept of homesickness. Because when I’m not in New York City, my mind wanders to the views from Rockefeller Center onto the circuit board streets dotted with cabs and food vendors, pink sunsets against mirrored skyscrapers tinged with the unwavering resilience of every human who calls this city home.
Food Hotels North America

Hotels We Love: LUMA Hotel Times Square, New York City

Located on a quiet street between two opposite worlds: the peaceful Bryant Park and the energetic Times Square, LUMA Hotel Times Square is the new modern and tech savvy hotel in town.

photo courtesy of LUMA

The perks of staying in a brand new hotel like LUMA are many. First off, the rooms are strategically equipped with USB outlets in every corner that a digital nomad like myself would need them! The brand new building in the heart of Manhattan, also offers something that is quite unheard of in majority of NYC hotel rooms: Double King Sized beds. Perfect for families who want to stay in one room together. The rooms are all quite spacious for New York and are super modern and clean.

And don’t let the Times Square location fool you into thinking that you may not get enough sleep due to noise. Quite the contrary, thanks to the black out shades, comfortable beds and location of the hotel: far enough to avoid the loud noises of Time Square yet close enough to admire the views.

photo courtesy of LUMA

#DTinsiderTip: Definitely book a room with a view since the other side of the hotel is facing a brick wall which may not be ideal for most people, especially if it’s your first time visiting NYC.

Additional touches that we appreciated:
Etro amenities
Nespresso machine
Speedy and free wifi
Friendly service

The hotel’s restaurant, Ortzi absolutely did not disappoint. We were tried a couple of the many delicious crudos on them menu, a burger with onion jam (amazing) and delicious lamb chops full of flavor. The service was great: attentive and timely and the bar seating makes for great people watching during lunch.



All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

I was invited as guest by LUMA Hotel Times Square. As always, all opinions are my own.