Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

 
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After Hurricane Irma, pretty much all of the South Florida region has needed a major make over and clean up session. Majority of landscaping and natural fauna was damaged and destroyed. I was amazed at how powerful the "not eye" of the storm was. I mean, thousands of pounds of giant palm trees and mangroves were completely uprooted. I have been wanting to take a walk over to the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens for quite some time now, and thought now would be a perfect time. Though, the gardens are not nearly as covered in green perfection as a month ago, the grounds have started undergoing the major clean up. Palm trees have been stilted and down trees, plants and branches have been cleared. The garden remains a wonderful city escape. The oasis is full of butterflies, the sounds of water fountains, and plenty of Florida sun peering through the many floral bushes and palmetto branches that survived the storm. It will only take a short while before new sprouts grow and the natural pruning of the storm will result in more beauty. #floridastrong xo RCN

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Farm Fresh: Mullica Hill Edition

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One of my favorite things to do, when visiting our family in Jersey, is to check out the latest and greatest at the local farm stands and markets. Near my parent's house, there are numerous flower stands, nurseries, honor wagons, and farm markets where you can select from freshly picked fruits, veggies, potted plants and/or homemade jams, cider donuts, etc. What a delight! New Jersey goes by the "Garden State" for a reason ;) Here are a few of my favorites spots in Mullica Hill, NJ. xo RCN

 

Mood's Farm Market: located at 901 Bridgeton Pike Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

In Fall time, it's the perfect place to take the kids on a hayride for apple or pumpkin picking. There's a corn maze, too! This charming farm market has a stocked pantry of jams, pickles, ciders, etc. The interesting selection of gourds, including Apple Gourds, is one of my favorite offerings. Almost any day of the week, make sure to get there early to score some fresh apple cider donuts - delish! Bring those home, and then order the peach slushy for there.

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Bast Brother's Garden Center: located at 1214 Ellis Mill Rd Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

This garden center may have only opened in Spring 2015, but this dreamy floral haven is already a favorite of mine. The family run business is on a precious plot of land with a hand built barn gift shop and separate succulent/cacti house - where the pumpkin painting station is located in Fall (only $2, the price of your pumpkin). And, worth mentioning, the Bast Brothers have the most beautiful pumpkin offering I have seen in all of South Jersey. The ornamental pepper plants are pretty rad, too. 

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Rosie's Farm Market: located at 317 Swedesboro Rd Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

I go here for the fruits and vegetables, and I usually walk away with sunflowers, mums, and pumpkins, too. There's nothing better than buying farm fresh food from a hard working family run farm. Rosie's has been around since the 70's officially, but Rosie herself has been selling under an umbrella, roadside, since the 60's. If I am ever unsure of what veggies will be available when I pull up to the red barn, surrounded by colorfully painted signs by the grandchildren, I can always check the availability chart online before I hop in the car. Thanks Rosie!

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Faena House

 
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Before, I moved to Miami, I often saw pictures of people posting a mythical like place, somewhere in Miami, that presents a giant gold mammoth skeleton enclosed in a giant glass case. The installation art sculpture was set amongst a backdrop of flowing palms and the ocean surf. Where was this place!? The Faena District, located at Collins and 32nd street on Miami Beach, houses penthouse residences, hotels, theatre for entertainment, and multiple bars and restaurants that have an atmosphere giving both Vegas and New York a run for their money. The mix of extravagant luxe and bohemian beach decor surrounds you as you enter the lobby at Faena House and continues to provide a unique and grand ambience as you walk through the main entrance and through to the Tree of Life Bar, Veranda with ocean views, and of course my new friend the Mammoth. Faena District is made up of multiple buildings and spaces within a few blocks of one another, including additional event spaces, another boutique hotel and restaurant, Casa Faena, and future plans to include retail shops. A few weekends ago my girlfriends and I decided we needed a night of Faena adventure.  We dined at Casa Faena for Miami Spice (like restaurant week in many other cities), a small boutique hotel across from the main residences. After dinner and before the continued party, we enjoyed taking more than a few fun snapshots and selfies in the lobby library at the intimate hotel. Like everywhere at Faena House, the space is a a designer's dream. The dim lit room was filled with rich color, eclectic materials, and animalia and tropic pattern and decor. Perfect for a glamorous photo shoot! We headed back over to The Living Room cocktail lounge, found in the basement at Faena House, to dance the night away whilst sipping on some bubbly. Next trip to Faena, we will add a show to our evening itinerary. The whole place is a definite must see and visit when spending time on the Beach! xo RCN

 
Source: http://www.faena.com

NYC: Nolita

 
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If you are looking for an adorable (and very pink) place to eat and drink in Manhattan, head down (or up) to Nolita. Nolita stands for North of Little Italy, and by golly is this neighborhood worth the stop. Ever since Pietro Lolita and Cha Cha Matcha took root, bloggers, tourists, and locals have flooded the hotspots, and trust me it's worth it. These two, hip and vibrant restaurant and cafes, are just around the corner from one another. Grab a yummy steak sandwich from Pietro, or one of the mouth watering cocktails. Then complete your trendy food tour by grabbing a beautiful tea, to go, at Cha Cha Matcha. Each place is dreamy in their own way. Pietro is pink from head to toe, or as they like to call it, "Pink As F***". Excuse my language! Cha Cha is a tropic getaway in the crowded streets of NY, where on a hot day like the one we visited, you can cool down with a delectable iced ginger matcha drink or a matcha soft ice-cream twist. The tall, thin, hipster guy working the register is the nicest man, ever! A little customer service goes a long way, no wonder people keep coming back! I couldn't help myself, but order a warm drink just for the powdered palm trees. You can't get that on an iced matcha ;) Be sure to make a stop at both next time your in the neighborhood! xo RCN

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Source: http://www.pietronolita.com

Go To Tulum!

 

Zach and I spent the long weekend in Tulum, Mexico for my girlfriend Roxie, and, her now husband, Michael's wedding. It was truly amazing. Beautiful and special describes everything from Roxie's traditional Mayan wedding ceremony on the beach (no pics allowed, sorry!), to the taco welcome party that started the weekend off with family, friends, laughter, and chorizo tacos under the starry sky. Tulum beams with Mexican culture and colorful character, the perfect place for riding bicycles along the roadside edge. The jungle lined curbside led to bungalows serving sweet mojitos and savory guacamole, and shops offering unique local handmade finds. A must see adventure in Tulum, is the ancient ruins; both magical and rich in history. The laid back vibe is nothing short of relaxing, and the bright ambiance and fashionable beach crowd gives the eye everything desirable. Dare I say, too many perfect snapshot spots to remember the vacay - an Instagramer's dream! We stayed beachside at Coco Tulum (totally recommend!!) and found our favorite dining spot just a four minute walk away, Posada Margherita. Yes, it is an Italian restaurant, but worth the break from traditional Mexican food for one night, because the authentic Italian cuisine is divine. A top 5 pasta pick, of all time - who knew, in Tulum!? And, if you are lucky enough to reserve a spot at Hartwood, make reservations a month in advance. You will also be VERY far from disappointed, and have a chance to savor the fresh local seafood catch of the day . We will be back to Tulum, but for now, we are headed home to the Atlantic! xo RCN

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More Is More At The Wolfsonian

 

I enjoy going to a museum. Depending upon what type, art mostly, I can get very caught up in my surroundings and spend a bit' of time wandering an exhibit. My latest visit was to The Wolfsonian, here in South Beach. I visited with my museum guru cousin, Sara, who works as a Curatorial Associate at a museum in NYC.

This particular visit to the Wolfsonian was in perfect timing, as one of the temporary exhibits, was one I was most interested in seeing, More Is More: An Installation by Christie van der Haak. Literally, this exhibit is eye opening. For any textile and print pattern obsessors out there (like me!), well this is our dream come true! The astounding tapestry and batik inspired pattern work is busy and intricate in the most interesting ways. The colorful and detailed design is displayed by covering the exterior facade of the musuem building, and the interior floors and walls of the lobby. Amazing! Talk about a great spot for some fun Insta photos. The artwork will be on display through June 11th, so catch it if you can! The museum itself is quite manageable, with only a few floors of temporary and permanent collections. It's a perfect stop for a couple hours, if that is all you have to spare.

I'm hoping to be off to The PAMM this weekend for another artful weekend to view some new exhibits I have yet to see on the other side of the bridge. xo RCN

 
Source: http://www.wolfsonian.org/explore/exhibiti...

Morada Bay

 

I realize that the last three posts in "Explore", are all spots in Islamorada. I guess that speaks to how much I love it. Morada Bay, is a must stop in the Keys. Even if you are headed all the way down to Key West, it's worth a pull over for lunch at the Beach Cafe.

My first trip to Islamorada, we were unable to eat and visit Morada Bay because the Netflix television show Bloodlines was being filmed. Ever since then, my friend Danny has me hooked  and I am really obsessed. Link to check it out, HERE. The second visit was a success, and I was able to watch the sunset with a ridiculously large cocktail in hand.

The white sand is soft and powdery while the palms above swaying with the breeze perfect the island soundtrack. The Beach Cafe salad is my favorite, with seared Ahi Tuna. Zach loved the Mahi-Mahi tacos. You can't go wrong with fresh fish. And if you forgot your suntan lotion, there is a quaint beach shop located in a parked vintage airstream trailer right beside the cafe. I had to pick up an extra Sun Bum key lime lip balm, just because. We have already decided our next visit to Morada Bay will be for the Full Moon Party! xo RCN

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Source: http://moradabay.com

Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorada

 

Zach surprised me for my 30th birthday. I am not surprised he planned a beautiful getaway for us, but I was surprised about what he planned. I LOVED it.

Islamorada in the Florida Keys is less than two hours from our home in South Beach, which is a perfect distance for a night away. Zach arranged with my girlfriend about watching Ethel for the night. THANK YOU Col!! Colleen, her husband Steve, and sweet boy Hudson, joined us for brunch at Yardbird on my birthday morning before we ventured off to The Keys. Also, a surprise! Oh, and Yardbird is one of the best restaurants in SOBE. Check it out HERE. The Eggs Benedict and pretty much everything else on the menu is to die for.

We checked into Cheeca Lodge early afternoon with champagne in hand and more awaiting in the room - good move Z. I slipped on my new favorite swimsuit from PacSun and we headed out paddle boarding on the still ocean. Kayaking, snorkeling, fishing excursions, golfing etc. are all available at the resort. They even have clear canoes! We spent majority of the afternoon just chilling by the water sipping on daiquiris and munching on Grouper ceviche, yum! Early evening, we took a quick trip off the resort to Morada Bay (very close to Cheeca) to see the sunset on the bay. Upon return to Cheeca, we ordered take out from Nikai, the sushi restaurant on property, and ate dinner at the tiki bar right off the beach. The sushi was wonderful. I love a unique roll option, which they had! My favorite rolls were the Big Kahuna: tuna & avocado topped with lobster salad, pineapple ginger glaze & toasted macadamia, and the Dirty Vegas: tempura shrimp & escolar tartar topped with spicy hamachi, sweet chili garlic sauce, tempura crunchies & black sesame seeds. So, so good!

The backdrop and beauty of Cheeca is perfect for a romantic and celebratory weekend in both daylight and darkness. The long dock is a perfect little stroll under the stars before bedtime. We closed off the night with a toast on our private balcony. I will never forget my 30th birthday or Cheeca Lodge. We will be back! xo RCN 

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Source: cheeca.com

Florida Keys Brewing Co. & Islamorada Beer Co.

 
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Zach and I share a very dear friend that recently visited us in Miami. Danny made the short trip from Philly to hang out for a few days and also to run the Miami Half Marathon. We figured since running 13.1 miles can take a lot out of a person, why not help Danny get his groove back after the race by celebrating with some cold beer and sunshine (Z and I sat this race out!). Being that Islamorada is not all that far from Miami, we figured let's all make it a first together, and head south to the Keys to enjoy some local beer after the weekend run. 

Both Florida Keys Brewing Co. and Islamorada Beer Co. are located in Islamorada. Both places are designed colorfully, stocked with delicious on the spot brewed beers, and full of fun bar games. We went for the beer, though giant life size Jenga can be quite fun, too. Florida Keys Brewing Co. was my favorite of the two stops. And, if you are along for the ride and don't actually enjoy drinking beer, you may at the least enjoy reading the names of the brews, like, Pelican Poop, Iguana Bait, or Rum Smuggler.

I'll be back to the Keys in a couple of months. Any suggestions for other cool places to visit? Please let me know! xo RCN

 

Wynwood Wandering

 

There are many things to enjoy in Wynwood. A stroll around the neighborhood is never dull. Numerous amounts of street art and graffiti surround your every move. Right in the heart of Wynwood, Panther Coffee, is a great spot to begin your explorations. Grab a delicious Miami famous cold brew, and begin your adventuring. My wandering usually ranges from popping in a few of the art galleries along 2nd Ave, stopping in for a peek at the adorable and well merchandised Frangipani, and searching Plant The Future for new and inspiring terrariums. A walk through the Wynwood Walls is always on the agenda, as well. The gated in art statement (art park), full of commissioned graffiti and street art, allows for the continuous discovery of new and international artists. If visiting Wynwood on a Saturday, I highly recommend trying a tropical flavored popsicle from the Farmers Market (only on Saturdays 11am-6pm) and shopping the street vendors with local artisan jewelry, prints, soaps and more. The best way to finish off any visit, is to settle in at Wynwood Kitchen And Bar, Wynwood Diner, The Butcher Shop, or Joey's Italian Cafe. All are great places to end the wandering and relax with a cocktail in hand. Your next visit to Miami must definitely include a visit to this artistic community, covered in the color and vibrance that well represents the city of Miami. Don't forget your camera! xo RCN

 

Winterfest 2017

 

I love to do a lot of cold weather activities, particularly skiiing and ice skating. When Zach and I lived in NYC, we used to meet each other at the Bryant Park ice rink after work to skate and grab a drink/appetizer for date night. I really miss it, but at least this holiday while visiting fam in Jersey, we had the chance to go skating at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Zach, Courtney (my SIL), and I went for a trip into Philly one night to test out our skills. The food vendors and drink options were fabulous too, including one of my favorite Jose Garces restaurants, Village Whiskey. We grabbed a drink inside the heated lodge, beside the fire pits outdoors, before heading onto the ice. The views were gorgeous while skating, overlooking the Delaware River. What a perfect night it was! Next year we want to reserve a super cute cabin room with the whole fam, can't wait! xo RCN

 

Always Visit Terrain

 
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Every time I am in the South Jersey area visiting family, I make a point to stop at Terrain. Located only about thirty minutes from my parent's home in NJ, across the bridge, in Pennsylvania, lives my favorite store experience. Founded in 2008 as a garden nursery in Glen Mills, PA, Terrain has now grown to be a lifestyle joy, inclusive of home goods, fashion accessories, and more. From the cutest floral gardening boots to the warmest wool socks and greatest cookbook, everything is merchandised throughout a greenhouse style space surrounded by flowers and plants of the season. I fell in love with Terrain the moment I stepped foot, back in 2011. So much so, that I had a few custom made terrariums designed for table decor at my wedding. Zach and I, and our parents, still house the terrariums in each of our homes, today. 

I continued my tradition to visit Terrain while I was home this Thanksgiving. Zach and I met up with a friend for lunch at the Styer's Garden Cafe. The farm to table restaurant on site is yet another reason why Terrain is an entire lifestyle experience. The food and coffee tastes as delicious as the plants and decor look. After galavanting around the winter wonderland, I sat at the cafe with Danny and Zach sipping on a warm apple pie latte and catching up on everything Z and I have missed in Jersey over the last few months. 

This November and December the tree farm and outside nurseries, dawn beautiful handcrafted evergreen wreaths and magnolia leaf garlands. The warm and magical atmosphere screams holiday cheer and captures you in a world you will always want to take home with you, including the adorable wooden sleigh (perfect for holiday family pics!). If you live, frequent, or stumble through the Glen Mills, PA area or Westport, CT. make an effort to visit. I promise you will not regret it. And, if you are lucky enough to be near the newly opened Anthro & Co. in Walnut Creek, CA. or Palo Alto, CA., also enjoy exploring Terrain there. xo RCN

 
Source: http://www.shopterrain.com

Left Coast Adventures

 

Cabana Cafe, Beverly Hills Hotel

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Alfred's Coffee, L.A.

Trail's Cafe, Griffith Park

The Hollywood Sign.

Griffith Observatory.

Morro Bay, California.

Big Sur!

Point Lobos.

Cowgirl Winery, Carmel Valley, CA.

Stillwater Bar and Grill, Pebble Beach Golf Links.

One of the best parts about going to college in a place like NYC, is that you are likely to become friends with people from all over the country and world. I did! I have had roommates from Turkey to Miami - and that's just who I have lived with. My friend list touches many more spots on the map. Many of us have spread wings and moved out of NY at this point, but now I have plenty of friends to visit all over the globe. My latest trip brought me to California to visit my close friend Jenna in Carmel Valley. 

I flew into LAX, with the intent to hit up as many stops as I could in 48 hours before renting a car and heading north to Jenna. My quick detour through LA included sightseeing and an evening visit with another great friend, Keli. The first portion of the trip I spent primarily solo, walking around Melrose and Robertson Blvd, and stopping for coffee at the insta famous Alfred's Coffee. Dinner for me was a burger at the Chateau Marmont's, Bar Marmont. It was a perfect place to dine alone in LA- if you are up for that sort of thing. I ate at a table close to the small bar upon entrance and then shifted to the main bar for a beer and DJ tunes before heading out. The following morning began with a trip to the Trails Cafe in Griffith Park for an outdoor brunch before hiking to the top of the mountain to visit the Observatory. The sweeping views of Hollywood along the trail, are a must see. Later, my agenda transformed into a relaxing late afternoon sipping bubbly at the Cabana Cafe at The Beverly Hills Hotel. This is worth a visit for anyone that is obsessed with palm leaf patterns and everything green and pink, like me. Make sure to walk through the lobby. I will be wallpapering similarly...some day. My night came to a close with my friend Keli at The Other Room on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach, before heading to an art opening nearby. Sunday morning came way early and off I headed North in the Jeep. I stopped briefly along the way in Morro Bay to see the famous rock and grab some views of the coast along my drive. The day was a bit' rainy and gloomy, but it felt beautiful with cool air blowing and sea lions hanging in the harbor. I had clam chowder for lunch at a dockside restaurant, bought a small bag of salt water taffy from the walk up window candy shop, and continued on my way.

After a good six hours in the car, I had finally reached my destination to Carmel Valley. The remaining four days of my trip were spent primarily outdoors with some driving along the beautiful wide ranging coastline. As a tried and true East Coast girl, it was eye opening to explore the large cliffs of Northern California for the first time. It was incredible to see the spread out terrain that hugs the Pacific Ocean. We walked the trail at Point Lobos, more trails in Big Sur and shopped at the Phoenix gift shop at the Nepenthe Restaurant there. Talk about an eclectic, beautiful, and thoughtful assortment of products. I bought a gorgeous hand embroidered table cloth with fringe trim that makes me smile when I think about it. Jenna, Nikki, (Jenna's Mom) and I spent a late afternoon wine tasting in Carmel Valley at Cowgirl Winery and Georis Tasting RoomThere wasn't a wine I didn't like, shocking! Cowgirl has an assortment of gifts and trinkets to shop while sipping on a glass of wine. I brought home a super cute graphic sweatshirt that says "Rosé All Day". Lastly, the trip would not have been complete without a drive through Pebble Beach and a quick hello to the golfers on the green.

What a whirlwind of a week. Coffee talk and mid day strolls went by all too quickly.  Back to the Right coast. Cheers until next time Jenna and Lefty! Love and miss you already. xo RCN 

 

 

Picnic Essentials: Joe's Take Away

 
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Sometimes you are just meant to have a spontaneous date night with a friend on a week night. That is exactly what I did with my dear friend Colleen this week. It so happened we learned last minute that we were both flying solo for dinner Thursday and decided to turn it into something much more delicious and enjoyable than eating salads and drinking wine alone on the couch. Though, some nights that is my favorite thing to do. But, in the spirit of Fall, Colleen and I packed our Autumn picnic essentials; beautiful dinner plates from Anthropologie, a colorful tartan blanket scarf from Zara, flowers and pumpkins for mood (of course!) and headed down to        Joe's Stone Crab to pick up the seafood and pie.

Joe's Stone Crab is an institution in Miami. Everyone knows the exact day and time that Joe's begins serving the local hot commodity, Florida stone crab. Both the formal dining restaurant and the take away venue (next door to one another) become blooming with customers craving the crabs come Mid October. In Miami, the stone crab is a signification of Fall, as it is only available starting around this time of year. We ordered stone crab, a crab roll, and the famous key lime pie and headed straight to South Pointe Park.  

It made out for a special and relaxing evening with a beautiful friend. I am ready for another Joe's night soon. Only regret was not picking up the jellybeans at checkout. Life is good.  xo RCN

 

Hip Hideaway: The Lido Bayside Grill

 

Next time you visit Miami make sure The Lido Bayside Grill is on your list of stops.   

A very seventies relaxed and fashionable vibe hits you straight upon entrance as you wind yourself away from the Standard Hotel entrance and head towards the hip restaurant and bar.  Lido sandwiches between the blue Biscayne Bay, hotel pool, and green leafy alcoves housing hammocks and mod sculpture.

The outstanding water view, DJ spinning, and well dressed fashion crowd make for a effortlessly chic hang out spot.  The cocktail list boasts a frosé, um hello, delicious!  The three dollar Narraganset beer during happy hour also makes for a pretty "happy" happy hour.  

Don't miss it! xo RCN

 

Isaac Farms Nursery Is A Dream

 

One of my latest discoveries in the Miami area is the wonderful dream world Isaac Farms Nursery in Homestead, FL.  I am well aware that the state of Florida is known for farming and agriculture, but my first visit to Homestead and Isaac's was my first venture into farmland that does not mainly consist of tomatoes or cranberries; what Jersey is well known for.  My search to find a Florida placeholder for one of my favorite places to shop, Terrain (now part of the new Anthro & Co.) deemed sufficient.  Very sufficient!

Cacti and succulents are some of my favorite things in the world.   I couldn't be happier to have found this glory of acreage that holds thousands of succulents, pottery, desert roses, air orchids, the list goes on.  Let's just say I had to apologize to Zach for the two hour roaming and gawking I did here last Sunday.  Not only did Zach join on my venture, but if it were not for Z, I would not have been able to carry the super tall cactus up to our apartment upon our arrival home. 

It is almost embarrassing to admit that in my first two visits my take aways included cacti and succulents for a large table centerpiece on the balcony, a few overbearingly sized pots, my first almost seven foot cactus, and multiple straggler pieces for my continued collection.  I will be smiling all week.  Click here to link over to my cacti centerpiece DIY!  xo RCN