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Book Tour Coming Soon!

Lake Winnipesaukee nature trail

Hey everyone! I decided to write a brief post to let you know what’s coming up. I finished reading Cindy Davis’, A Little Murder, so that means my next tour will be soon! Yay! This one is a bit different because, for the first time ever, this book will be taking me out of NYC and into the open road. I will be heading to Alton Bay in New Hampshire! I’m so excited to take my book tour on the road. Woohoo!

If you read my Lake Rules post, then you’ll know I’m already familiar with New Hampshire’s lakes region. I love this area! Lake Winnipesaukee is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to share more of it with you through this book tour. I actually am not sure if I’ve been to Alton Bay, so it’ll be a bit new for me too!

So this weekend I will be heading back to New Hampshire and I will do the tour sometime between Sunday and Tuesday. As always, a book review and sneak peek will soon follow. Besides traveling, this tour will also be different because I will be doing it on two separate days. The first day we’ll have a pretty sweet ride- a cool boat will get us around and on the following day, we’ll be in a fancy automobile. Jk. It’s just a regular car. Should I get a convertible? Someone send me a convertible stat! Well, probably not but I think it’ll be fun to do a two day tour. Spread out the good times!

You might have also noticed that I wrote “we.” That’s because for the first time ever it won’t be a solo tour! I’ll have my family with me. Hopefully they will give the tour the proper respect it deserves. We shall see! Never know with that crew.

The picture at the top was taken during a nature walk in New Hampshire from the last time I was there. Can’t wait to go back and to bring you all with me! Fun fun!

Until then, please enjoy a couple more pics from that nature walk.

Here’s me and oh my gosh just look at this cute dog!

 

Stay tuned! 😍

But first, if you didn’t read my last book tour, check it out here!

And come find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

See you soon!

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

I cannot believe that I got nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award! This is so cool! This is my first blogger award! I’ve always seen these kind of posts since I started blogging but I didn’t think I’d get one myself. Hermione Quinn you made my day/week/month/year! Thank you thank you!!

If you haven’t checked out Hermoine’s site, My Suitcase & Me yet, you definitely should! Her way of describing her travels, transports you there and you almost feel like you’re on a vacation yourself while reading. I will definitely be referring back to her site with each new post and when I start traveling more. She also has an awesome post with travel tips that’s not to be missed.

Thank you again Hermione! You are so awesome!

The rules for the versatile blogger award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate bloggers for the award

 7 Things About Me

1. I love animals! I need a dog in my life again one day but until then, I enjoy dog stalking in NYC. I also get lots of time with my little dog niece Winni. I love her so much! I give her lots of belly rubs and we love to play water fetch! She doesn’t share her sticks though. 😒 When I’m in New Hampshire by the lake, I also spend lots of time with my chipmunks and my ducks! I’m proud to say I’ve pet a chipmunk. I can provide video proof upon request.

Lake Winnipesaukee Chipmunk

2. I work as a child life specialist in the hospital. Child life specialists support kids and families throughout their hospitalization. We help kids cope by bringing lots of play into the hospital! I’m about to start a new job working in the Emergency Department. I’m nervous!

3. Like Hermione, I’m also a vegetarian. I’m not the healthiest of vegetarians though. I eat lots of cheese and bread. And I will eat all of the guacamole. I’m sorry, did you want some?

4. I’m a germaphobe! Door handles are my nemesis. I’ll use whatever I have to in order to avoid touching the handle- a paper towel, my shirt, elbow, or even my knee. I will get through that door! When I go order food from a counter, I have to try not to watch them prepare my food. I’ve seen some very off putting things. I haven’t been back to my bagel place since I moved to my neighborhood 3 years ago because I watched someone sweep and clean and then prepare my bagel without washing her hands. Eww.

5. I used to be an actress. Mostly community theatre in Atlanta, Ga. I was real passionate about it in my teen years, even did a summer program in San Fransisco (that was a fun summer!), but I lost my drive for it during my young adult years. I used it as my reason to move to NYC, but I didn’t pursue it for long while I was up here. I auditioned for Broadway shows though and did a short little play at an Off off off Broadway theater. 😉 Acting was a great experience and I’m so glad I had that experience. Recently I took a couple of classes again and really liked it, but definitely know it’s not something I would seriously pursue again. It’s fun to dabble in, but I’m really happy that I have this blog to play around with. It’ll be fun to see where it takes me!

6. My favorite place to visit is Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire! It’s so beautiful and relaxing. I’m so lucky that I get to go there as often as I do.  I go in the summer as much as my work schedule allows and often get to be there for Christmas when it’s a winter wonderland!

Lake Winnipesaukee

7. I LOVE the show Game of Thrones. I even dressed up as Khaleesi for Halloween one year. She’s the Mother of Dragons and I’m The Mother of Chipmunks.

 

My nominees are:

Sarah Writes Smut 

Sagittarius Travels 

simply Dee (in D.C.)

Lucy Goes Dating

Debatably Dateable 

Wolfe Butler

Jessica Elliott 

I can’t say enough good things about all these bloggers. They will entertain you, they will make you reflect, and they will send you to amazing places! All of them without a doubt are deserving of The Versatile Blogger Award. Besides being brilliant, they are also so supportive. What more could you ask for? There’s no obligation to carry on the post, but those who do, I can’t wait to read the 7 things about you!

Thank you again Hermione Quinn for this award! Don’t forget to check out her site here.

Thank you for reading! Hope you come back! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

#amreading A Little Murder by Cindy Davis

East River

Hey everyone! I’m back to let you know what I’m reading. In case you’d like to read it too, the book is…drum roll please…okay, I’m being way over dramatic here…the book, ladies and…do we have a gentleman? Yes! You in the back (I accidentally stole this line from John Mahoney’s character in the movie Reality Bites. Oops.)!

Here it is, without further ado…I am reading A Little Murder by Cindy Davis. What is this about? How to make a soufflé? No!

I think a murder might be involved. Pretty sure! I absolutely love a good whodunnit so I’m ready to dive in! And guess what? I’m going to dive into the setting of this book! You better believe I will! This book is set in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire! Oh yeah…this New York City girl is headed to the lake! She will dive in boldly (if it’s at least 90 degrees out and not freezing water) and take you on a tour of good ol’ Lake Winni. You did see a bit of the Winni here but that had nothing to do with a book tour, so this will be cooler. Cross your fingers.

If this is your first time here, check out my last tour: my Annie Van Tour. So far I’ve read books set in NYC and use the books as inspiration to take myself out on a tour of the city. A book date in the city, if you will. I’m so excited to be doing a traveling book tour this time. Maybe it’ll be the first of many more? We’ll see!

While I start this murder mystery, why don’t you check out pictures from my last book tour that didn’t make it on my post?

Here you go!

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Reading A Little Murder by Cindy Davis

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I had a great time on my Annie Van tour! Can’t wait for A Little Murder tour! Stay tuned!

 

 

Annie Van Tour

East Village, The Bowery

I had a moment when I saw this message written on a building I passed during my Annie Van tour. I feel like I’ve been more of a dreamer since blogging and starting my book tours. It’s exciting because I haven’t felt this way since my teenage years when I had lofty dreams about being the next Natalie Portman. Towards my young adult years, I lost that aspiration, but I know that I felt something lacking. I still had creative juices in me but I didn’t know how to utilize them anymore. I focused more on my altruistic side for my career, which has been very rewarding, but I know I’ve wanted to do more to access my creativity. Now I am.

Book Tour Inspired by Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Anne van Sinderen

I visited the East and West Village and The Bowery.

If you didn’t read my review of Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, you can read it here.

This book gave me great inspiration for a book tour of the city. Young love, youthful aspirations, mystery, and a ghost?

The first thing I had to do of course was eat because a girl has to eat! The character Wes goes to NYU for the summer and his dorm is on Waverly Place. He brought Annie to a diner “down the street” that he likes. I found a diner down the street from Waverly Place.

I walked in the wrong direction for longer than I’d care to admit. However, happy accidents happen when one gets lost.

I got to get in some quality squirrel stalking time.

NYC Squirrel

I got to hear this guy play Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano…

NYC Piano Player

I was starving so I said, “adíos” to this Piano Man.

Waverly Restaurant
385 6th Ave.

Waverly Restaurant

Wes didn’t steer me or Annie wrong because this food was pretty decent.

After satisfying my tummy, I head to the nearby Washington Square Park where Wes and Annie spent some time.

I walk down Wes’ street to get there.

Waverly Place
Waverly Place

Here’s a shot of NYU

NYU
I must admit, I don’t know which part of NYU this is. Let’s pretend it’s the library Wes and Annie go to.
Washington Square Park
Of course I follow the dogs.

More dogs!!!!!!!

Washington Square Park Dogs

The money shot!

Washington Square Park

The Hare Krishna Festival of India was taking place at the time of my visit. It was a cool atmosphere to be a part of.

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

This funhouse mirror represents our changing body. Our body changes throughout our lifetime, “but we also can see that the conscious self within the changing body remains the same.” I think the point is that our real self is within so that’s where our focus should be and what we should work on. Do you agree?

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

I enjoyed the vibe of Washington Square Park. I took some time to relax by the fountain that had kids and some adults splashing around in. I definitely recommend a visit here when you come to NYC.

Katherine Howe herself told me (on Twitter) that I had to start off my tour at The Merchant’s House. She was so nice to tell me that this is where she got the inspiration for Annie’s home.

The Merchant’s House MuseumI arrived on time to join a tour that had just begun. I learned this house has been around since 1832 and occupied by the wealthy Tredwell family. The tour guide talked about how the Tredwells had 8 kids including 6 daughters and four of them didn’t get married. He said he’s unsure of why that was and maybe there was some sort of dysfunction? Well, I can tell you that, without a doubt, dating in NYC is tough! I guess back in the 1830s or 40s was tough too. And maybe they were independent women who didn’t need a man to survive? Hmm?

The Merchant’s House

I included this picture of the Tredwell family because Wes refers to Annie’s hair as “hipster hair curled over her ears.” Do the Tredwell women look like Williamsburg hipsters?

I think this might be similar to Annie’s and her sister’s room since the Tredwell children’s rooms weren’t on display and a tub is in this room just like Annie’s. Can you see the small tub in between the bride mannequin and the small bed?

The Merchant’s House

What a lovely backyard!

So apparently people have some ghost stories from this house. The Tredwells lived here for 100 years and some believe they haven’t left. They even do ghost tours here. I might have to come back before Halloween!

Did I run into any ghosts, you ask? You be the judge…

The Merchant’s House Oh my god! Scary! I think it’s the ghost of Annie Van and she’s excited to see an iPhone for the first time.

On a more serious note, I have to mention that plans exist to build an eight-story hotel next to The Merchant’s House. The tour guide explained that this could severely damage or even destroy the house. Back in the 1830s there were many townhouses next to each other and they kind of held each other up. As the last standing home from back then, it is not so stable. I saw the evidence of this in the cracks in the walls. They have contraptions in the walls to reinforce them. Since I enjoyed visiting this historical landmark, I signed their petition against the construction of the hotel. You can learn more here and sign the petition yourself if you’d like.

After leaving, I head over to walk along the streets that Wes and Annie walked.

The Bowery

The Bowery Market
L’Arte del Gelato at The Bowery Market

I found gelato! You better believe I got some!

L’Arte del Gelato

I got the pistachio flavor. It was so delicious! I want more!

The Bowery Market

The Bowery

The Bowery

I imagine Annie walking these streets being confused by all the sights, tall buildings, and frenetic energy of the city.

Next on the agenda is a trip to a psychic. If you remember from my review, Wes and his friend Tyler film a séance at the beginning of the book. Since the woman who leads the séance in the book is often referred to as a palm reader, I figured getting a reading from a psychic is the next best thing to a séance. Besides, of course, I want to know about my love life!

My dating life has been going through a dry spell lately, okay, it’s a drought. Maybe the psychic can give me hope or help me accept my independent, single life? Maybe she’ll help me name my future dog?

The first psychic I called charges $180-$300 for a 1-2hr session! She said she was the #1 astrologer, not some bullsh$t place you can walk up to on the street. I promptly hung up the phone so I could find a bullsh$t psychic on the street.

Bingo!

NYC Psychic

I was buzzed in by Natasha who gave me her prices. A $25.00 palm reading sounded good to me! I sat down on her couch, eyes closed, palms up, her little daughter playing on the floor…and thought of two questions I needed answers to- love and career. I know, so predictable.

Natasha told me that I had two guys in my life. One is not the guy for me and one is my soulmate. I sort of lied before because I recently went on one date with a guy who I wasn’t too sure about. He’s currently finding himself whilst in Spain hiking the El Camino. There was also a guy I was potentially going to go out with but he was also out of town. Natasha was adamant that I’ve already met my soulmate so going out with that stranger would be pointless. She asked if there was someone from my past that I still think about? I admitted there was but that I probably shouldn’t go out with him again. I asked, “What should I do?” She tells me, “Nothing…he will come to you.” Well, that’s easy! I don’t have to waste my time with online dating or do anything at all! Takes the pressure off.

Next up she tells me, “You are an honest person, a good-hearted person, you help people, but when you need help, you don’t reach out, you stand on your own two feet. You’re all these things but you’re not fulfilled in what you’re doing. You’re not happy. You’re searching for something.”

Wow. Hard to hear, but I think there is some truth to it.

However, since I’ve started my blog, I think I’ve been feeling more fulfilled. Maybe she’s seeing how I felt pre-blog days? Although those thoughts are still present since I’m still growing here and not totally sure where blogging will lead me. It’s been a fun adventure so far though!

The psychic also told me that soon I will have financial success, a bigger position. All I need to do is wait for it all to come to me. I already did get a new job but I don’t know if that’s what she’s referring to or something else? We shall see!

Of course, I take it all with a hefty grain of salt.

I texted my brother-

NYC psychic

Next I head to the water because according to Annie, back in her days, no parks existed so they hung out by the water for leisure. A major focal point of the story is The Grand Aquatic Display, so I had to picture that scene by the water too.

On the way, I passed by a community garden that I relaxed in for a bit. I couldn’t resist its charming appeal.

NYC Community Garden

As I was leaving, I spotted something magnificent.

NYC Community Garden

NYC Community Garden

With his mom’s permission, I was able to snap a closer pic. He was a bit camera shy, but he’s a beauty!

Now to the water!

East River

I had some ulterior motives in coming here. I had been looking forward to spying some good looking runners, but now that the psychic told me I’ve met my soulmate, that purpose seems pretty fruitless now! I guess I can still enjoy the eye candy just a little bit? Maybe not my soulmate but no harm in looking, right?

The East River

Lots of couples passed in front of me, but this couple was my favorite. They seemed at ease and in tune with each other. Relationship goals!

The East River

The psychic was wrong! Now I’ve met my soulmate! Look at the way he’s looking at me! That face!

Don’t run away!

We’ll always have our moment. Time to go.

I head to another spot from the book. I believe the New York City Marble Cemetery was the inspiration for Annie’s final resting place. It was closed but I could snap some pictures through the gate.

The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

Cemeteries make me hungry so I head out to search for a favorite spot among the characters of the book- a pizza place!

As satisfying as this is, I think an evening in the East Village isn’t complete until you go to a dive bar. It ties in nicely with the book since the characters often hung out in dive bars too.

International Bar
International Bar, 102 1st Ave.

International Bar

I discovered this outdoor area on a trip the restroom so I wanted another beer to enjoy the atmosphere outside. Trouble is I didn’t open a tab and realized that I didn’t have enough cash. I only wanted one more, which didn’t meet the minimum for using a credit card. What does the bartender do? He gave me the second one for free! What a cool guy!

What is it that people say about New Yorkers? How awesome we are?

NYC tour, The Appearance Annie van Sinderen, nyc tour inspired by the book.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour. Come back for my next one! I will reveal what I’m reading and where I’m going in my next post.

Special thanks to Katherine Howe for the awesome inspiration with her book and for supporting my tour along the way. I loved Annie Van!

 

Lake Rules: Relax Relax Relax

 

Lake Winnipesaukee

I didn’t make up the rules, I just follow them. I think I got the rules off some sign and I wholeheartedly agree! It’s instant relaxation coming to Lake Winnipesaukee.

My regularly scheduled post has been delayed because I came up here to of course relax and celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday.  I’m just being nice, it’s all about my birthday. My gift to my father is me. 😉

Since I won’t have my Annie van post up yet, please check out my book review and sneak peek into my East Village tour inspired by the book, here. The full tour should be up by Sunday, cross your fingers!

Until then, I wanted to share a little bit of Lake Winni with you all. This post is dedicated to my awesome Twitter friend @teamechavarre. When I did my first tour inspired by a book set in NYC, the blog post got about 3 views, no lie. I felt a bit dejected and wasn’t sure if I would do it again. It was so fun and I loved doing it, but I wanted people to read it too. So then Sarah Smith comes along aka teamechavarre and she starts liking, retweeting, and commenting about how amazing it was. She made my day, week, year, everything! Since then I’ve kept it up and couldn’t be happier about it. Thank you Sarah for your continued support!

Sarah is also an awesome writer who is working on a book, which is sure to be just as awesome as she is. You can also check out her writing now by going to her smokin’ hot blog.

Sarah Writes Smut! Does she ever! Makes me blush. You will surely be tantalized so check it out here!

As promised to Sarah, here are my Lake Winni pics. Enjoy!

Lake Winnipesaukee sunset

I love when I get visits from mama ducks and her ducklings!

Lake Winni duck

This one is smart. On our deck, we have a bird feeder that a squirrel tries to hack into thus knocking lots of seeds on the ground below. The chipmunks below are happy about that and so is this duck!

Speaking of chipmunks…

Lake Winnipesaukee Chipmunk

Lake Winnipesaukee Chipmunk

When I’m here, I spend a lot of my time sitting in front of the lake reading and feeding the chipmunks. I end up spending more time feeding these guys because they keep coming back for more and more! They will run up right to my lap to get some seeds. I’m the chipmunk whisperer!

Lake Winnipesaukee
Enjoying some almond butter banana toast by the lake. Sorry chipmunks, this is my food!

 

Lake Winnipesaukee Loon
Can you see the loon?
Loon
Closer look!

When you hear a loon or two on the lake, that’s the ultimate relaxation moment.

If you’re curious, you can hear their sounds on this YouTube video.

Happy Birthday to me!

Best for last as always:

Winni

Winni

Winni Girl! She’s my little niece named after Lake Winnipesaukee. Love this girl!

That’s all for now. Might have some more Lake Winni posts this summer. I’m looking for a book set here, but don’t know if I’ve found a good one yet. We’ll see! I’m open to suggestions.

Don’t forget to come back for my #Annievan tour!

Thanks for reading! If you’re not currently by a lake, you can still find ways to work relaxation into your everyday life. I know I will try too when I’m back in crazy New York. Just think: relax relax relax.

Edit: #Annivan tour is now up!

Lake Winnipesaukee

 

 

Book Review & East Village Tour: The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen

I have got a great book to tell you all about! Do you like love stories? Do you like mysterious, love stories? Well, I do because I can relate. All my “love stories” are a mystery. It’s always a mystery to me what went wrong. Have you been ghosted before? Yeah!? Me too! One of the main characters in the book, Wes, gets ghosted BIG TIME. Poor guy! If you’re in the dating world, you know first hand how much it sucks to get ghosted. Can’t help but to feel for Wes.

About Wes…he’s doing a summer film program at his dream college, NYU University. During the program, being the good guy that he is, he helps out his friend Tyler with his film. Tyler is doing some artsy, experimental film and so together they film a real seance that takes place in a dark townhouse in the East Village. At this seance, Wes meets a mysterious and beautiful girl. After the seance, he wants to get a signed consent form from her so she can appear in the film, but he didn’t see her come out. He also got distracted by another intriguing girl from the seance and went out for pizza with her. Tyler was not happy. Tyler needed that consent form, so Wes has to figure out how to track her down.

Somehow he does find her but then he loses her again. He can’t catch a break! Disappointed and a bit rejected, Wes tries to forget about this beautiful girl who has captivated him. But maybe their paths will cross again??

Annie van Sinderen is the captivating girl and she’s got a lot of baggage. If Wes and Annie were on Facebook, their relationship status would definitely be, “It’s Complicated.”

The story is told through Wes’ perspective and Annie’s. While Wes is experiencing NYC for the first time, Annie grew up there, however, she grew up in NYC in 1825. Yeah, “It’s Complicated,” is an understatement. What is Annie doing? Can she accomplish what she needs to do? Can Wes help?

Katherine Howe told me herself on Twitter that this is a weird book. She wasn’t kidding. It’s weird, it’s hypnotic, chaotic, captivating…what else? Spellbounding! Mesmerizing! It’s just so cool and amazing…haunting and jaw-dropping. It made me wonder about the history of New York, and especially since I live here, it made me picture what the city was like back then. The book is very descriptive, which makes it easy to picture.

The images of Annie being forced into present-day NYC are emblazoned in my mind. Can you imagine how jarring NYC would be to someone from 1825? Katherine Howe really makes you understand what a confused and terrified state of mind Annie must have been in when she had no idea what was going on around her.

The book makes you care about all the characters. Their struggles whether in present-day or 1825 are real and relatable.

I highly recommend this book. It was awesome!

As always when I read a book set in NYC, I take myself out on a tour of the city inspired by the book I read. Annie Van brought me to the East Village in Manhattan.

Here is a sneak peek into that tour:

The Merchant’s House Museum

West Village

The West Village, NYC

NYC, Annie Van Tour

NYC Tour, Book Review, Annie Van tour

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen tour

NYC community garden

East Village community garden

East Village Dog

Washington Square Park

The Appearance of Annie van SinderenStay tuned for the full Annie Van tour! Thank you Katherine Howe for the inspiration! It was a hauntingly, beautiful day. 😉

Full tour is live! Check it out here!

#amreading Annie van by Katherine Howe

Ditmas Park Home

Hey everyone!

I thought I would write a little post to let you know what I’m reading. I want you to get an idea of where in NYC I’ll be touring next! With help from Twitter, I decided to read The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe. I’m excited about this one!

There’s a film student, a mysterious and beautiful girl, a seance, maybe a ghost? Sounds cool to me! Should make for an interesting tour in the city.

If you haven’t read one of my tours, check out my last one to get a better idea. Read it here. I read the book Modern Lovers, which inspired me to take a tour of the beautiful neighborhood Ditmas Park located in Brooklyn. It was a rainy day, but a cool skateboarder girl made me realize I was being a bit whiny about the rain. So I quit the bulls%it and enjoyed the day!

I only just started reading Annie van and already I’m pretty intrigued!

So I have an idea…why don’t you start reading it too so you’ll be even more fired up for my tour!? Riiiiigghht!? Sounds like a good idea to me if I do say so myself. 😉

Until then, here are some photos you didn’t see on my last tour:

Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park Home

Ditmas Park

That’s all for now! Don’t forget to check out my Modern Lovers Tour!

Modern Lovers Tour

Flatbush Food Coop

This time I’m bringing you to sleepy Ditmas Park, as it’s often referred to as. I read “Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub, which got me ready to go to this great neighborhood. If you didn’t already, read my book review and sneak peek into my tour here.

Before going on this tour, I must admit, I was aggravated. If you read my Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour, you already know that I sometimes have trouble shaking off my aggravation. I usually do my tour on Saturday’s but since my weather app told me there would be thunderstorms, I postponed it. Sunday would have showers, but it didn’t sound as bad. Part of me thought I should cancel it altogether to wait for better weather, but a bigger part of me thought that the point of my tours is to get out of my comfort zone and see what happens. I had pretty perfect weather for my other tours, but things can’t be perfect all the time. That’s not reality. I know how gorgeous Ditmas Park looks on a lovely Spring day, so it wasn’t an easy pill for me to swallow, but I choked it down.

I’ve been to Ditmas Park before. I was amazed the first time I came here. I’m used to massive skyscrapers, hordes of people rushing by, honking cars…even living in Brooklyn, Ditmas Park was this heavenly little oasis of chirping birds, scampering squirrels, and cute, fluffy scaredy cats. I loved it! And oh yeah, BEAUTIFUL Victorian homes with romantic trees and perfect lawns. It’s unbelievable that this place exists in NYC.

In the book, the character Andrew gets involved with a place called EVOLVEment. It has yoga, meditation, essential oils, and illegal Kombucha. It was a coop so everyone worked there. Andrew came from family money and didn’t have a job, so it seemed like he was in some midlife crisis when he stumbled upon this place. He was ripe for the plucking by the sketchy owner, Dave.

Since that place is fictional, I decided that instead of getting involved in something sketchy, I would use the book to inspire me to move my body around in some sort of exercise-type way. Yoga!

Family of Light Holistic Center

I went to the Family of Light Holistic Center. It’s been a million years since I’ve done any physical activity besides walking around the city. However, I thought since it’s an open level yoga I should have no problem.

The class started off strangely since there was a weird smell coming from the facilities. The instructor opened the door and gave us essential oils to put on our wrists to help mask the odor.

She starts the class, “Now inhale deeply…”

Um…I’m gonna pass on that.

In her defense, the smell didn’t last long. The essential oils smelled great & relaxing and soon I could inhale deeply without concern. It was nice because it was a small class so we got a lot of individualized attention. Although, I feel like I got the most attention because she had to keep correcting my form. Yoga isn’t easy! I was sore for a couple days afterward, but my neck which is usually sore felt good for a couple of days. I need to go back!

After that class, I was hopeful that my aggravation about the rain would easily float away. We’ll see.

Since I’m a Brooklyner, I don’t live too, too far from this spot, so I went home to freshen up.

Please enjoy this brief intermission with a snack and/or beverage of your choice.

Okay, we’re back!

Cortelyou Road

Cortelyou Road is the main drag of Ditmas Park. It’s often mentioned in the book and lots of restaurants, bars, & stores run along this road. I headed to a popular place along this street for a quick brunch.

Cafe Madeline
Cafe Madeline

This place is soooo busy! It’s crowded at the counter and a bit nerve-racking for an introvert like myself. I ordered at the counter, waited for my coffee at the end of the counter…and waited…and waited. Finally, I get my coffee that was filled to the top of my mug and make my precarious walk among the throngs of people to search for a table without spilling it. I had to wait some more until, hallelujah, praise baby Elvis! I hear my name and they bring me my meal.

Cafe Madeline
Avocado and egg cheddar biscuit

It was cold. Ugh. I ate it anyway because I don’t want to dare fight through the massive amount of people at the counter. It’s a bummer because I can tell how good the ingredients are and how well made it is. It was still decent despite the chill.

When I leave, it’s still raining and I’m not in the best mood. The hectic vibe of Cafe Madeline is not really my scene and it’s Mother’s Day, I forgot to mention. I didn’t really think about that when I had to delay my tour. It was a bit awkward sitting alone in a cafe on a rainy day on Mother’s Day. I did call my mom though who lives out of state and I bought her something nice. Enough about my mom…

Time to get moving!

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

I’m walking up Argyle Road which is the street Elizabeth and Andrew live on and it’s also the street Ruby and Harry walk up to get to Prospect Park. I follow the directions straight out of the book.

Trying to shake off my aggravation about the rain when I see…

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

Only the coolest teen girl ever! I’m over here annoyed at the rain from underneath my umbrella when this girl goes skating past me without a care in the world. The character Ruby is kind of a badass teen girl so it was so appropriate that this girl showed up as I’m literally walking Ruby’s path to the park.

I was never a badass kid. I was awkward, shy, and so self-conscious. I look at a girl like this skateboarder and think, “She’s gonna turn out alright.” Not that I didn’t, but I’m still searching for my inner badass.

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

Ditmas Park, Arglye Road
You already know I’m a dog stalker, but I will stalk cats too.

Prospect Park

“They walked three blocks straight up Argyle, until they hit the soccer fields and the back of the tennis center…Ruby nudged Harry toward the bridle path, a soft dirt road…they were completely alone, staring out at the lake…There were ducks in the lake…”

Ducks!? I need to see these ducks!!!

Prospect Park bridle path

Prospect Park Lake

I found the lake! I was told there would be ducks here.

Prospect Park Lake
“People fish here, have you seen that?” Ruby asked.

That guy is fishing!

Prospect Park Lake

DUCKS!!! 😀😍

Prospect Park Lake

AND SWANS!!! How did I not know about this? I vaguely recall hearing something about this, but I guess I was too busy sitting on my comfy couch to learn how to find this in real life. Thank you, Emma Straub, for leading me to the ducks and swans of Brooklyn!

Prospect Park Lake

So cool! I enjoyed them for a little bit. I was alone in this spot minus some rowdy men I heard nearby. I think that the only park goers on a rainy day are the ones running the loop. Runners are a dedicated bunch, rain or shine. The loop was close but not close enough that I felt that protective feeling you have when you’re around others. So when one of the rowdy men started walking in my direction, call me paranoid or call me street smart, I said a quick goodbye to the ducks & swans and briskly walked toward the more populated loop. That guy kept walking in my direction but since I made that decision quickly, there was no way he could catch up to me. He was probably harmless but on this Mother’s Day, I had my mom’s voice in my ear, “Better safe than sorry.”

But MOM…maybe I ran away from my soulmate?

Mom: “Mmmn…I don’t think so. Did you hear about that girl who went to the park to look at the swans and…”

Did she get murdered?

Mom: “Yes…brutally. I think I might know your future soulmate. He lives in Georgia. You can talk to him on the computer!”

Thanks, mom.

Now that I escaped near death thanks to my mom…time to get back on track!

Cambodian Buddhist Temple
Cambodian Buddhist Temple

 

Ditmas Park homes

Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park Victorian Homes

Ditmas Park Victorian Homes

Did you enjoy these lovely homes? The next home I’m going to take you is the well-publicized mansion of actress Michelle Williams.

Ditmas Park
It’s under renovation.

Ditmas Park

Whoa! I was not expecting that. Trying to enjoy a peaceful walk here!

The next homes I learned about from reading an article on Bklyner.com called “Brooklyn Staycation: A Day In Ditmas Park.”

The Japanese House
The Japanese House
William & Lulu Norwood House
The William & Lulu Norwood House. Quite a hidden fortress!
184 Marlborough Road
According to the article, this was the home to Nellie Bly – “the pioneering feminist and investigative journalist who took the world by storm decades before women even had the right to vote.”

Street Art in Ditmas Park

Artist: Juan Carlos Pinto

Ditmas Park art

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
This is from the Newkirk Plaza tunnel murals.

Newkirk Plaza tunnel mural

Newkirk Plaza mural

Tree art

Ditmas Park, tree art

 

Coffee Z
Grabbed a coffee and chilled for a bit.
Ditmas Park
So many tree-lined streets.
Ditmas Park home
Love this one!

This is the last house on my tour. Did you have a favorite?

For dinner, I picked a restaurant that I think could be the inspiration for Jane and Zoe’s fictional restaurant Hyacinth, which is located on Cortelyou Road.

The Farm on Adderley
The Farm on Adderley

I sat at the bar with a glass of wine & a good meal.

The Farm on Adderley
Farro Rissoto

Looks a little weird but it was quite tasty.

I was thinking about my last tour, how I was hoping I’d meet a nice guy. A guy was near me for a bit but when I got back from the bathroom, he was gone. Two guys took his place. Hmm? I’ll have my choice…actually I think they might be gay.

I’m not really feeling the drive to meet a guy like I was during my last tour. I wasn’t jealous of any of the characters this time. Instead, I look at those guys and think, “Good for them!” What’s wrong with me? I’m almost 39 & still single. I need to keep my eyes peeled. Change locations if there are no viable single guys around.

Bartender: “Would you like dessert?”

Yes!

The Farm on Adderley
Goats Milk Panna Cotta

No! What is this? The bartender recommended this. I feel conned. They were out of one dessert and I bet they were low on the chocolate one, so she steered me toward this one.

Um, bartender, I’m the single female here, I think you should have pointed me in the direction of chocolate instead of this swamp! I don’t even know what I’m eating. Are those onions? In her defense, she did say it was weird, but she used weird as a selling point and I fell for it! No, I don’t want croutons in my dessert, thank you though.

That left me wanting actual dessert so I stopped at the store on my way home and picked up chocolate peanut butter gelato. Yum!

Anyway,

I saved the best for last. 😊

Ditmas Park Dog

Meet Pogo!

You know I love dogs, but I have a special place in my heart for three-legged dogs. The owner lets me take a picture and told me that Pogo inspires him every day. I love that three-legged dogs go about their life the same as if they had all four. They run around & play and enjoy their life.

I’ll keep Pogo and the cool skateboarder girl on my mind whenever I need to remind myself to just let go and enjoy.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour! I hope you enjoyed it.

Click here to find out what I’m reading next!

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Book Review and Ditmas Park Tour: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Since the last book I read was set in Manhattan, I thought it would be nice to head back to Brooklyn. I am a Bk girl after all, which I admit, makes me a little biased. This book is set in Ditmas Park, a little oasis in Brooklyn that’s hard to believe exists until you step foot over there. Do you need a breather from the hectic, rushed vibes of Manhattan? Ditmas Park is your answer! It is a breath of fresh air!

Needless to say, I was excited to read Modern Lovers. In fact, I’ve been planning on reading it for a while but I needed to wait until the trees would be in full, spectacular bloom for you. In case, you’re wondering, yes, I have been to this part of Brooklyn before. I was amazed the first time I walked around this neighborhood, so I really wanted you all to see it too. Sadly, I had a bit of a weather delay and the day I went was not the perfect day I was hoping for either. It was a bit rainy, but not so terrible that I couldn’t enjoy the day.

Okay, down to business! Modern Lovers is about a close group of friends, Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe, and Lydia who knew each other during their college days and were in a band together. Elizabeth and Andrew were college sweethearts and now are married living in Ditmas Park with their teenage son, Harry.

Zoe is married to Jane and they also live in Ditmas Park and coincidentally have a teenage daughter named Ruby. Do you see where this is going? Yup, Harry, and Zoe might become more than friends…

So that leaves Lydia…Lydia became quite the rockstar but as stars go- they rise and then they fall. Unfortunately, Lydia’s fell. A film surrounding her life is a major focal point of the story.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Prior to reading, I had glanced at some negative reviews. Well, I, for one was completely invested in each of the characters’ stories, especially Elizabeth’s.

The characters seemed real and honest. I enjoyed Ruby’s badass personality and Harry’s innocence. The relationship troubles the characters faced seemed very relatable. I rooted for them and hoped for the best when things seemed to get a little hairy. I definitely recommend this book.

In case this is the first time you’re reading my blog, I read books set in NYC and take a tour of the city using the book as inspiration. Check out the last tour I went on based on the book I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk. You can read it here.

I’ve lived in NYC for almost 13 years and if I’m being honest, I was in a bit of a rut doing the same things day in and day out. Wake up-Work-Home-TV-Bed. Rinse & repeat. Many times I thought, “What am I doing living in such an expensive city?” Am I taking advantage of living in one of the coolest cities on the planet? The answer was no. I needed to change that. When I got this idea, I felt excited. I love reading and who knows where these books and characters will take me? I wanted to see!

Part of me was nervous because if I don’t make plans with friends, I usually just stay home unless I have errands or something. Could I spend a whole day in the city doing solo activities? Brunch, dinner on a Saturday night, or a concert? Well, now I have done those things and it makes me eager to do more! Now I know that I don’t need to wait for anyone to get out and explore. I don’t need to wait for permission to go out and live an adventurous life.

But of course I know friendships and even dating (ugh) are important. So don’t worry, I will still keep up with my social life. I do have some pretty great people who I’m lucky to call friends.

On to the best part- a sneak peak into my tour!

Here you go!

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Cortelyou train tracks

Trees of Ditmas Park
Trees of Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park tree trunk

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Prospect Park

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Thank you for reading! Full tour is here!

I Heart New York Tour: The photos you didn’t get to see

From the Manhattan Bridge
Train ride into the city

I’m about to show you never before seen photos from my I Heart New York tour. I went on a tour of the city inspired by Lindsey Kelk’s book “I Heart New York.” Read it here, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it!

Lindsey Kelk read it and I still can’t believe all the nice compliments she sent my way. She shared it on Twitter and Facebook. So many people read it. So cool!

Here’s what she said:

Author Lindsey Kelk praised my blog

Thank you again Lindsey Kelk! I Heart You!

So down to business. The photos I’m about to show you are a little angry with me. Please don’t refer to them as the “leftovers.” They are a little sensitive about it. I prefer a positive and upbeat blog style, so I apologize if there’s an undercurrent of anger throughout this post. No matter how much I’ve apologized to these photos, they still can’t seem to get past the fact that they didn’t make the tour. By no means did I feel they weren’t worthy enough, but I just had to make some cuts. Please show them some love in the comments. They need it.

Here we go. Deep breaths.

Union Square, New York
I don’t understand. I would have been a great introduction to Union Square. I’m over here welcoming everyone to Union Square! What is wrong with you?

I’m sorry. You’re completely right. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Hope Sculpture
I’m a close up of the famous Hope sculpture. That faraway shot was pitiful. Unbelievable!

It was a tough decision! If I could have used both of you, I would have! I’m sorry.

MOMA
I’m pretty and you know it.

You’re very pretty.

MOMA
I tried so hard for you.

You did. I’m sorry.

MOMA
Too many people in the way for you?

Kind of. Sorry.

MOMA
Do you even know what painting I am?

Ummm……no…sorry.

MOMA
I’m a helicopter inside the MOMA! I’m awesome. It’s because of the dust, isn’t it?

Yeah.

SeaGlass Carousel
I’m way cooler than your other SeaGlass photos.

Yeah, I think you might be. I think I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll put you on my home page? That’d be cool, right!?

Battery Park

Battery Park

Battery Park

These photos are refusing to talk to me.

Battery Park
I’m so beautiful!
Battery Park
You had to do that. You had to show the garbage? Well, this is real New York. You don’t think your readers can handle the truth!?

Settle down, Jack Nicholson.

Union Square
Was I not cute enough for you?

Of course you are! You’re adorable! I love all dogs.

Speaking of dogs, I wonder if what Lindsey Kelk meant with her comment was that I found love within myself or with this dog?

New York City dog

The dog! It has to be the dog. Look at how he’s looking at me. I need to find this dog again!

Weren’t these photos just lovely? That was such a great day. Thank you again Lindsey Kelk for the inspiration!

Until next time!

Currently reading Modern Lovers by Emma Straub