Monday, July 30, 2012

Take a Staycation!

In the beginning of the month, I vowed to Enjoy July and dared you all to Be Selfish this summer.  It's important to set aside time in our busy schedules to sit back and just plain have fun!

That's why my friend Becky and I planned ourselves a "Staycation" for this weekend!  For the month or two beforehand, we kept our eyes out for good deals, good ideas, and good eats to enjoy together.  In the end, we celebrated some professional successes with a staycation in our home city.

The result?  Two days, under $200, and a lot of fun and bonding time.

It began on in the morning with none other than a WALK!  Becky and I are both fit-minded people who enjoy physical activity and (mostly) healthy food.  We planned to walk/jog through Central Park, but with an ominous weather forecast and limited time frame, we decided to walk around from midtown to Washington Square Park and Soho instead.  We were still in our workout outfits and sneaks, and the heat definitely made us sweat!

We found ourselves at the brand new flagship Chobani Soho shop (not by accident) and admired their sweet and savory yogurt bowl combinations.

The staff were all SO helpful and friendly, the ordering process was simple, and our bowls came out so quickly!  The staff in the kitchen (behind the glass window) were hard at work preparing everyone's orders, and the storefront displayed Chobani yogurts proudly.

Our yogurt came in adorable little Chobani bowls, which can be taken to go or eaten in-store and recycled.

Becky got the "Toasted Coconut + Pineapple": pineapple, toasted coconut, hazelnuts, light agave, and I opted for the "Fig + Walnut": Turkish figs, walnuts, and honey.

Fig & Walnut

Other flavor combinations included "Blueberry + Power" (sounded like my morning ritual yogurt), "Plain Chobani + Cucumbers", (served with pita chips!), and even a "Peanut Butter + Jenny" version.  Something for everyone.  

We were both pleased with our selections!

But of course, it wasn't a quite full lunch, so we walked up to Union Square to supplement our yogurt with vegetables at Whole Foods.


From there, we hiked up to Flatiron to Queen Jane Day Spa for some pampering.  We'd purchased Groupons that entitled us to a basic facial, a swedish massage, sauna time, and a pedicure, all discounted.  Yay!  This was to be our relaxation time.  The facility was beautiful and well-run, but I was not entirely satisfied with our services.  It seemed as though we didn't receive full "Basic Facial" treatment, possibly because of our Groupon status.  The staff said we did, but it was not 45 minutes and there was no exfoliation, just a slathering of nice moisturizers.  This was disappointing, because online coupon deals (which THEY offer) are meant to bring new customers in, not turn us away.  Oh well... I did like how my pedicure turned out.

Last chance for fun summer colors?

After that, we parted ways, because we each had a friend with a going-away-party that night.


The next morning, we reunited bright and early for Yoga.  We went to Hosh Yoga in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where the class is donation-based.  It's hidden in a warehouse-looking building, but inside had a studio room and a back room with mats, blocks, and cubbies.  The studio was pretty crowded, squeezing everyone in, and for some reason it was HOT, at least 85 degrees, even though this was NOT Hot Yoga or Bikram.  A few vinyasas in, we were certainly sweating.  He made the theme for today's yoga lesson planking.  Lucky us!  Tons of planks.  It was definitely a workout.


An hour fifteen later, we were back outside, sucking in the fresh air and guzzling water.  We went back to shower quickly and then set out for a quick lunch at Smorgasburg!  Always so many flavorful options to choose from.  It was surprisingly crowded for such a cloudy day.  We did one lap before choosing the first booth we'd looked at: Bombay Sandwich.

They had a cool sandwich press that not only pressed it into a panini-like state, but also sliced it diagonally! Very cool.

Quinoa mashed with chicpkeas and veggies, seasoned with tumeric,
fennel seeds, dried funugreek leaves & garam masala

Becky got the Quinoa Chickpea Sandwich, and I got the Gluten-Free Platter, which is the "Quinoa Chickpea"and the "Roasted Eggplant" without the bread.

Roasted eggplant, onions & tomato,
seasoned with cumin, carom seed, asafetida & a punch if jaggery

We brought our lunches over to some park benches with a great view of Manhattan.

The food was really tasty, flavorful, and oddly light.  I felt good as we went to our next activity...


With a Living Social deal, we got half-off at Brooklyn Charm's "Basic Assembly" jewelry-making class.

We measured and cut our chains, toiled over our charm selections, carefully opened and closed our jump rings, and modeled our new necklaces for the remainder of the day!  (Without intending to, we made very similar designs!)

We recalled how we used to enjoy crafting jewelry like this, and considered getting the pliers to do it on our own. It's a fun, focused activity!

Grown-up version of friendship bracelets?

Back at Becky's place, we hung out for a "chill" afternoon of lounging around; we were both pretty spent from the heat, walking outside the day before and sweating through yoga this morning.  With the Olympic games on, she did some reading and I did some work.  Then we turned girly: She turned on Bravo and I painted my nails.  We got changed and toasted with some TJ's wine she had on hand before heading back out.


That night, we had a date <3 at The Stanton Social, sister restaurant to Beauty & Essex.  Becky picked it out and made the reservation about a month ago.  After oggling at the menu for so long, we were eager to eat! 

Becky :)

The restaurant was dimly lit, quite packed, and very loud--a modern, chic type of place.  We discussed the menu at length before settling on four dishes: two each and two to share.  Before our food arrived, we were given Tequila-Spiked Gazpacho as an amuse bouche.

I started with the Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi (pickled jalapeno, avocado, yuzu ginger dipping sauce, and seaweed on the side), and Becky got the Chicken Taquitos.

Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi  -  Chicken Taquitos

Both came with beautiful presentation, and we swooned over the tastes.  My fish tasted so fresh!

Yellowfin Tuna, Avocado, Seaweed

Then we shared Stanton's signature item: French Onion Soup Dumplings.  Deeeelish. So savory and decadent. Highly recommended.

French Onion Soup Dumlings

We liked the dumplings...
and the bowl!

Our meal concluded with the Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizzeta.  I almost didn't, but was glad I chose to indulge in this very thin-crusted and flavorful flatbread.  Just like the dumplings, worth it.

We left quite satisfied, glad we stuck to four dishes instead of a fifth, a drink, or dessert.  This way, we had room for one more stop...


Il Laborotorio de Gelato!  This was also on Becky's "to try" list, so we walked right over.  The whole factory (hence the name) was right in the back, with small storefront for purchases.

There were so many unique flavors of sorbet and gelato, like "Mexican Cinnamon," "Black Mission Fig," "White Peppercorn," "Toasted White Sesame," and so on.  See the extensive list here.  I went classic with Dark Chocolate and Banana Chocolate Chip.  It hit the spot :)

Dark Chocolate and Banana Chocolate Chip gelato

And so concluded our date, our day, and our Staycation.  Great success!  It was nice having some time to just catch up, girl talk, hang out, do nothing, and do everything.

When was the last time you treated yourself to a nice meal?  To a fun new skills class?  To an afternoon at the spa?  Dare you to treat yourself from time to time, and take a Staycation when you can!  

Thanks, Becky, for an awesome weekend!  <3


  1. YES!!
    Ive planned a staycation for me and the 6 year old next week.

    so so so excited.

  2. looks like an amazing, delicious weekend! well done!!

  3. LOOKS LIKE SUCH A GREAT WEEKEND! And I really want to visit the Chobani store now! ha

  4. Awesome weekend!

    I would love a Chobani Soho near me!

  5. I wanna go to the Chobani store SO BAD!!! I might have to take a trip to Soho just so I can go. haha ;)

    Sounds like a fun staycation!!!

  6. Want an awesome idea! I am so jealous of the spa day... I need to set one up with some girlfriends!

  7. Sometimes Staycations are the best kind of vacation!!! Looks like such a fun weekend! So jealous you got to go to Chobani Soho!

  8. Wow! I'm amazed at how much fun stuff you fit into one weekend! Groupon is definitely a helpful resource in planning fun, staycation ideas!

    That Chobani store... must. visit.


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