Friday, July 21, 2017

New York Top 10

I was born and raised 45 minutes outside, New York City in Central New Jersey. My earliest childhood memories and my fondest family memories are visits to New York City. I even moved to NYC for two years from 2010-2012.

Central Park 

New York City is magical, yet a place that can eat you up and spit you out at the same time. Everyone has their favorite parts of the city, remember though, there are 5 boroughs and you must visit all of them in order to visit NYC. No trip would be complete in my book without a visit to Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and obviously Manhattan.

If you are saying what do the others have to offer, you have come to the right place! Here I will share my top 10 favorite places throughout the five boroughs!

Brooklyn: (Where my parents were born & raised)

  • Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Take a walk along the river and be sure to stop and take in the view. Put the phone away and take in the scenery and people watch ( you will see all kinds of fashion!)

Staten Island: (Home to some of the worst traffic) 
The Bronx: ( Home of Yankee Stadium) 
* As a New York Fan I attended a game vs Boston Red Sox in Fenway with college friends and boy was it interesting. I was "Booed" at while getting hit on by the same guy.  
  • The Bronx Zoo- Calling all animal lovers! I could stare at the penguins all day!
Queens: ( I have attended the US Open 15 times and multiple days during each time)
Jack Sock

  • Queens Comfort- Are you a foodie, like me? One thing to know is many establishments with amazing food, tend to be Cash Only unless you are at a 5 start restaurant. Two rules, always have cash and check for a A rating for health and safety! 
Manhattan: ( My studio apartment was 245 sq ft)
  • Broadway Show- Check out TKTS for discounted tickets to some of the hottest shows on Broadway. Don't eat in the area, as it could be very expensive. Know what you are willing to pay for decent seats and you may just luck out! 
  • SeaGlass Carousel- Battery Park, located in lower Manhattan has some pretty amazing views of Brooklyn, Hoboken and the Statue of Liberty. It is also home to a cool carousel I would highly recommend checking out! 

  • The Highline- Walk as much as you can throughout the city. I love to avoid cabs unless completely necessary. This area is a photographer's dream and a creatives inspiration. 
Have you ever been to New York City? If so, what is your favorite spot?


Friday Favorites #40

Happy Friday, friends!

This week flew by rather quickly. Besides working this week, yesterday I visited a local brewery, Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, NJ and finished it off with Ice Cream from Hoffman's before playing Trivial Pursuit with my sister and her boyfriend!

This weekend I am working Saturday and Sunday have plans to visit the local farmer's market and stay close to home!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile! Let's be friends on Instagram and Twitter!

I am always a double scoop kinda ice cream gal! Two different flavors combined into one sitting!

The older you get, the harder it is too make new friends. I have experienced first hand how hard it could be when moving to a new area. I wish I read these tips during my last move.

Seafood summer dining is my deal. This is a great reference for sustainable seafood!

When I am stressed or aggravated I tend to do a deep clean. Now it makes sense as it is a way to relax! I will have to try and Ice Cream walk!

How Casey Niestat was an inspiration to Carly, is like how Lucie Fink is an inspiration to me!

What are you loving this week?


Monday, July 17, 2017

Smart & Sassy

Meet my new friend, Smart & Sassy. I have never been to a horse race before. I knew, OK, still only know very little about horse racing and betting, and therefore had a very interesting trip to Belmont Park, this past weekend!

When you know an owner, you can get close and watch them saddle up. After taking a few photos down by the staging area we headed back upstairs to place our bet and take our seats in the owners box!

The 11 above is 11(MTP) minutes to post. She is a beauty, isn't she? The obvious bet, was to bet on her, yet there are so many options. I decided to keep it simple and bet $2 on #8 for WSP. Win, Show, or Place. As I mentioned I have never bet on horses or even attended a race. Another bucket list item checked off my list!

The unofficial results above were from the race after, Smart & Sassy's as I couldn't get a photo quick enough. She did land up placing, and therefore I won $4.10!

As more races went off, myself, friend and her mom made our way to the bar, only to be followed by some other friends! I can always find a way to celebrate with a Blue Moon!

Have you ever been to a horse race?


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Lake Minnewaska + New Paltz

Whoa, another solo road trip including a visit with my sister and her boyfriend, in the books! I told myself 2017 would be the year I would take road trips, I would step out of my comfort zone, and I would explore places both near and far!

Having a 4-day holiday weekend, worked in my favor allowing me to drive to upstate New York for the night! My sisters boyfriend grew up there, so I planned to stay overnight with them. On Monday when I arrived we took a quick tour of, Ellenville before the big clam bake & seafood fest his mom cooked up!

It's a small town with a few restaurants and home to one of the cutest post office buildings I have ever seen. After driving through the town we drove past Ulster County Correctional Facility before driving up the mountain to a beautiful overlook!

Back home for clams, mussels, seafood pasta, and all the cookies a girl could ask for. We hung out for the rest of the afternoon in the backyard. I saw a few fireworks from the pool before calling it a night.

Tuesday the plan was to visit Lake Minnewaska and drive around the mountain to New Paltz, a town I've heard about, but had never visited. We woke up early, grabbed some coffee and breakfast and hit the open road. There was a small debate between blasting the AC or driving with the windows down, which in the end won! Fresh air for the win!

We arrived early to the lake and had no problem paying the $10 parking cost. I was told the views would be breathtaking, but let me tell you, I had no words at first. How could this beauty be so close yet so far and I had never heard of it. Time to start visiting National Parks, and all the beautiful lakes in the Northeast!

Beauty is the key to life, when we see it in the people and places around us. 

My favorite picture
It's about a 2 mile trail, which we didn't do as I was wearing flip-flops and wasn't prepared. The plan is to go back in August and hike the trail and visit the waterfall! If you get up there I highly recommend bringing your camera. I loved so many shots, even ones not on my iPhone.

We spent about a half hour at the park before driving the rest of the way over to New Paltz, an artsy town filled with fun-loving people and cool restaurants and shops.

Upon our arrival we headed straight to Gilded Otter Brewery for a flight tasting. We sat on the outdoor patio and grabbed warm, fresh pretzels and nachos with guacamole to share!

From the antique shops to the quaint bookstores, the entire town is too cute to just try and share in pictures. Rent a car, head north of NYC and just start exploring!

Coolest Hot Dog Cart Ever


The quick 45 minute drive home gave me enough time to close my eyes before my 2+ hour drive home to New Jersey. With it being close yet far enough I look forward to many more trips to different areas in upstate New York!

Where is your favorite place to hike?


Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Favorites #39

Happy Friday, friends!

Thanks to an extended Fourth of July weekend this week flew by. I went from Graduation party to BBQ and a quick trip to Upstate New York at the beginning of the week. This weekend is brunch with a friend on Saturday and working Sunday! More about my trip upstate will be on the blog over the weekend or the beginning of next week.

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile. I would love to connect with you on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

Lake Minnewaska
I have the travel bug 24/7, while working a full time job. If your in the similar boat I recommend short distance solo travel to start out. Here are some great US locations!

The colors in this plaid top from Anthropologie is perfect for date night or dinner down at the Jersey Shore!

While walking around New Paltz on Tuesday I was excited to find two bookstores across the street from one another, and both open! It reminded me that I have some great summer reading books on my list! What book is in your summer beach bag?

Add these 10 restaurants to your list in NYC. Alexa, the lovely lady behind Eating NYC is always giving great recommendations. I love her Instastories as well.

Nicole, the talented owner and designer of Crochet It Forward makes the cutest clutches. They make great gifts!

What are you loving this week?


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blue Water Grill & Max Brenner

Friday night I headed straight from work into NYC. Being that it was a holiday weekend, and many escape the city for the Hampton's or Jersey Shore I figured I wouldn't hit any traffic. Just before the tunnel we sat and there was the traffic I had hoped to avoid. It wasn't the worst, and I was in the city with time to spare.

Union Square
Our reservation at Blue Water Grill was for 8pm; however since our entire party was early, they accommodated us and sat us earlier. They recently went under a major renovation with a renowned focus on sustainability and highlighting local purveyors. Our waitress, in detailed talked about local sourcing and how each item was prepared. The staff was extremely friendly as well as very knowledgeable and giving some wonderful recommendations. If I could, I would have easily ordered every single item on the menu. "Punch & Smash" sold me by just the name as it was kind of the day I had been having earlier.

Our group of three decided that we would share some items and then we could go ahead and order our own rolls.

Crispy Cauliflower
I am not a huge cauliflower person, therefore I decided not to eat the above. However the rest of the party agreed it was the right crisp and the tahini sauce was perfect.

Mini Lobster Rolls
Anything lobster is my weakness. OK, anything seafood is my weakness. I could eat Seafood and Sushi for every meal. The mini lobster roll was enclosed and placed over a creamy herb aiolli sauce that was the very good. I could have had two orders for my main meal. The lobster meat was fresh and the roll was toasted just right.

Farfalle- Blue Crab
The above Blue Crab Farfalle was new to me. It was just enough to share with the other two. I would have liked some more sauce, however it was absolutely delicious.

Golden Sunshine Roll
What's in the Golden Sunshine Roll, you ask? Lobster, uncooked salmon, and avocado topped with a pineapple sauce. My only disappointment was that it was 5 pieces rather then 7. Again, everything was fresh and made to perfection. My compliments to the chef and the entire staff at the restaurant.

View from the lobby 
We were full after dinner and decided to walk two blocks south to Max Brenner, because that makes so much sense. What is a dinner out without dessert? If you are in the area, I highly recommend making a reservation as it will get very crowded quickly especially around meal times.

You only live once, so you might as well live it to the "max!" We were seated right away and decided to wait a few minutes before ordering and looking over the menu. The decadent desserts, should be shared as they are large.

Chocolate Chunks Pizza (Half Size) + Urban S'mores Fondue
OK, so maybe we didn't need both the half pizza and fondue, but every last bite was eaten and enjoyed. Don't fret, you can also get chocolate cocktail and a ton of variety hot chocolates. The menu is endless and should be shared among parties. Proceed with caution to the restaurant, if you love chocolate as much as me.

Empire State Building
Goodnight NYC and Happy Birthday America! It was a wonderful evening with friends. We chatted about life, we ate and drank delicious food and cocktails and toasted to an amazing summer!

What is your favorite dessert?


Monday, June 26, 2017

Grab a seat at the Bar

This blog, "Tracy Say's....." seems to lack a theme in my own personal opinion. I am not sure how I feel or where I am going with this, so bare with me.

I want to write more how I speak, if that makes any sense. Tracy Say's, Grab a seat at the bar is all about dining alone, something I thoroughly enjoy.

Today a co-worker asked me how I could wander the local farmer's market alone, attend a local Lobsterfest or even eat a meal publicly alone? I didn't realize the stigma behind this until we were in a full conversation and she said she would be panicked to walk into a restaurant alone.

I find joy grabbing a seat at the bar, striking up a conversation with the bartender and enjoying a meal. Sometimes I will bring my kindle and read while I dine, but only if I am deeply invested in the book and I can't put it down. Talking with strangers, or bartenders always teach me something new. I learn about the person and they about me. I have yet to find an unfriendly bartender who didn't want to engage in a conversation.

Here are my 3 tips for dining alone.

1) Grab a seat at the bar. Hell, put yourself in the center of the bar, not the last bar stool or corner so that you can't strike up a conversation with fellow diners.

2) If you can dine Al Fresco ask for a table along the outside. I've been able to start a conversation with people passing by asking about my meal or the restaurant.

3) Ask your server or the bartender what their favorite item on the menu is. I bet you ten bucks it's the best meal. Many times the menu will be overwhelming and they are more then happy to recommend their favorites.

I completely understand that dining alone isn't for everyone, however I would highly recommend you try it at least once.

Have you ever dined alone? 


Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites #38

Happy Friday, friends!

On Wednesday, the first official day of summer I headed to the beach right after work! The week is flying by otherwise. I am working this weekend and hoping to spend the rest outdoors!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile. You can always leave a comment on Instagram.

Asbury Park Boardwalk
I purchased this colorful beach tote earlier this week and am looking forward to taking on the many beach days this summer!

My wish for a partner is someone who loves to travel as much, if not more then I do. This article was quite interesting.

Do you travel on a budget?

I believe kindness should come naturally to everyone. We should spread it everyday. Grace's post really hit home for me.

Could you imagine having dinner with Prince Harry? A cool article written from a girl I went to high school with.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, instead this is a list of some of my favorite things. You may find affiliate links via ShopStyle as it takes time and money to maintain a blog, therefore thank you for your support. 

Who would you invite for a dinner party you were hosting?


Monday, June 19, 2017

NJ Small Town, Cranbury

One of the things that makes New Jersey so special is our diverse mix of cities and towns. Our small towns are beautiful and filled with history and charm. Cranbury's roots date all the way back to the 17th Century. One of the oldest establishments, the Cranbury Inn was built in 1780 and still exists today. Today, the rich history is beautifully preserved while all of the architectural building are in tact and Brainerd Lake is home to some amazing summer concerts.

A short drive from Princeton, you can visit Cranbury in one day. I highly recommend parking at one end and walking through the entire town before heading back.

The character and charm of the house above stopped me in my tracks. A woman with two young children walked by and said, "You have to sneak a look at the garden in the back," however there were landscapers on the property and I didn't want to get in trouble for trespassing. What a magical home I imagine it would be to live in.

Brainerd Lake

View from South Main Street

Water Fountain

Brainerd Dam

Bench overlooking the Lake

As you walk along South Main Street each house will have a plaque that looks similar to the one below. Take a walking tour of the town to learn about the history of Cranbury.

After walking around and working up an appetite be sure to stop for Pizza and Ice Cream. Cranbury Pizza is the perfect quaint Italian restaurant with outside patio seating. Some have ranked their pizza as the best in the state. I will have to get back to you, as I have a few places left on my list to try.

After you've had your pizza the next stop across the street is ice cream from Gil & Bert's Hand Dipped Ice Cream. Sure I had it at 11am, because let's be real it's never to early for ice cream. Flying Fish Fudge is nothing you would imagine, yet the best mixture I've had in a while. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge, cookie dough, and m&m's.

I had a wonderful day exploring Cranbury and as I said, if you're in the Princeton area be sure to check it out! 

What is your favorite flavor ice cream?