Spring Coats 2019
Coat    (runs true to size)

Coat (runs true to size)

Coat    (runs big, order 1 size down)

Coat (runs big, order 1 size down)

This past weekend I swapped out my closet for my spring/summer clothes (yes, I am a 29 year old child who still stores my off season clothes at my mom’s house because #apartmentliving). I kept 1 of my winter coats in order to not be totally irresponsible but I am so over it! I love swapping it for my Spring coats and adding a couple of new ones into the mix. Spring is a time when you NEED layers. These light Spring coats are perfect layering pieces! Here are my favorites, just click on a picture to shop.

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Spring 2019 Party Dresses
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It’s finally feeling like Spring! With Spring, comes the start of wedding season. That means bridal showers and other corresponding parties. I’m off to my friend’s bridal shower today so I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to share some of my favorite Spring party dresses! I think that these are also perfect for Easter and Passover, which are just around the corner! I am going to my sister in law’s house for Easter. I’m excited to see my niece and nephew since every holiday with them is instantly more fun. I love dressing for the warmer weather and as you know, I LOVE dresses so all of these make me happy! Many of these are currently on sale too. Just click on any image to shop.

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Spring Shoes 2019

Spring is an exciting but also tricky season to dress for. I think that shoes are a big part of that. I love getting shoes that will be transitional and I can wear in the summer as well. I want things that will look good with jeans, dresses and shorts. I’m also always looking for cute sneakers that are comfortable but elevate an outfit instead of bringing it down. Spring is the time when I wear the most slip on sneakers of all! I rounded up all of my favorite spring shoes for the season in this post and I legit want every single pair. They are all well under $200. Just click on an image below to shop!

The House My Family Built
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Last weekend I went to my family’s beach house, which has always been my favorite place on Earth. It’s now also the place where my dad took his last breath. Every adorable mermaid-clad corner now also has a shadow of the insane heart break that is left in his absence. His favorite foods in the kitchen, his shows on the DVR...you know, everything that one would leave behind when they’re here one moment & just poof...gone the next. 

But just as it is my favorite place, it was his. Our family built this house & it helped build our family. The 4 & then 5 of us made so many happy memories in this house by the sea. And I can almost reach out and touch them when I’m there.

So much of the pure joy & excoriating pain that’s been crammed into my 29 years on Earth thus far reflect back at me in those periwinkle walls. It’s filled with bedrooms that we stacked wall to wall for sleepovers as little girls who giggled so late into the night that we had to constantly be reminded that my parents could hear us through the vents. Its where I played countless rounds of ‘never have I ever’ in the hot tub with a red solo cup in my hand as a teenager. It’s where I spent my first night alone with Jay. It’s where I’ve come to recover from many, many surgeries in inexplicable pain. It’s where I woke up on my wedding day. And it’s where I pulled up to the second after the EMTs wheeled my dad’s body away.

I remember watching them build this house as a kid..beam by beam. And now, for better and most definitely for worse, I’ve watched as it builds my story. #FromCarlysHeart

Stuffed Sweet Potato
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I feel like I eat a lot of the same foods but I am constantly mixing up the WAY that I eat them. Lentils and chickpeas are definitely frequented ingredients because there are only so many plant based, lean proteins out there. I decided to stuff some sweet potatoes and bake them and was not disappointed with the result. This recipe has some spiciness to it so if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen! Try them out with the easy recipe below. 

Ingredients:

4 medium sized sweet potatoes

1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

1 T olive oil

1 cup cooked red lentils

2 T cayenne powder

1 T chili powder

1 container of Kite Jalapeño Vegan Cream Cheese (or Alouette Garlic and Herb Soft Spreadable Cheese for a non vegan option)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scrub the sweet potatoes so that they are clean. Wrap each sweet potato in tinfoil and then place them in a casserole dish (like the one I used, linked below), with parchment paper in the oven. Bake for 1.5-2 hours or until you can push into the side of the potato and it feels soft. 

While the potatoes are baking, cook your lentils according to the directions. 

Brush the chickpeas with olive oil and then sprinkle the cayenne pepper and chili powder on them. Bake them in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for the last 15 minutes that the potatoes are in the oven. 

Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, slice a slit down the center of each one, lengthwise. Stuff each one with lentils and chickpeas. Then, use a knife to spread your cheese or vegan cream cheese along the inner wall of each side of the potato. Enjoy it by eating all of the components in each bite! 

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Leopard Silk Skirt Trend
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I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m the biggest trend follower but sometimes a trend just hits home and I dive right in! The satin midi skirts that have been all over have really been speaking to me. That’s particularly true for the animal print ones. I think that they give you a fun ability to dress an outfit up or down depending on if you wear heels or sneakers and what type of top you wear. I embrace any opportunity to get dressed in something besides athletic wear and wear sneakers so I am all over this look! I thought that it would be fun to pair my new favorite band tee with it but for night time I can also wear a black top. Also, I got this jacket for the holidays and I am OBSESSED with it! It is so reasonably priced, comfortable, and I love that it has a detachable hood. I like that the sweatshirt fabric hood is detachable because I can keep it on when I want a more casual look and remove it when I want it to be dressier. I linked some of my other favorite leopard skirts below!

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Annual Marriage Review
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A couple of years ago Jay and I started doing a ‘check in’ for our marriage in what I call our Annual Marriage Review. I know…the name is intense and sterile and sounds so formal. However, it’s really not that serious and is actually something that I look forward to. It’s really just an excuse for a date night followed by a healthy and productive conversation. It works well for for us but I know that not everything is for everyone!

Why?

I am a big believer in constant communication and talking about what’s working and what’s not in my marriage. As an individual, I am constantly working on growing in regards to my own mental/emotional well being, my career, my relationships, my fitness goals (when I’m not currently recovering ugh), my health, as a person, and so on. I always have a goal that I am working on professionally, personally, and in my relationship so this is just in congruence with that. Before being ‘conscious’ and all of that was trendy, I have always been someone who operates my best (and am less anxious and depressed) when I ‘check in’ with myself and take time to reflect. I’m unsuccessful at many, many things but being in tune with my emotions and practicing self awareness is something that I have always found (at least moderate) success with (and am constantly working on). I think that it’s a powerful mechanism for getting through all of the hard cr** in life (not a solution, just a helpful tool in the tool belt). This practice of being ‘in tune’ has naturally trickled into my relationship with my husband. Naturally, Jay and I communicate the crap out of things!

Needless to say, this ‘review’ practice is very much ingrained in our regular (at least weekly) lives. However, I wanted to do a formal sit down once a year for a full reflection of the year and to be really intentional about our goal setting as a couple. Think about it, I (generally) exercise and eat well (ish haha) in order to avoid gaining weight because it’s easier to maintain my weight than have to work at losing weight. I want to instill healthy practices in my marriage to prevent problems from happening in the same way. This review is like getting the oil changed in the car to prevent it from having problems and not breaking down on the side of the road. Basically, I think that doing maintenance and ‘checking in’ to keep things running smoothly WHILE they are running smoothly is easier than trying to fix things after they’ve begun to break (not that things can’t be repaired after they break). Obviously, I’m still in a relatively young relationship since Jay and I have only been together for 8.5 years and I know that we have a lot to learn still. However, we have been through many really hard things in those 8.5 years and have learned a lot about having a solid partnership through it all. I also know that relationships are so individual and that what works for some people doesn’t work for others. This is just a personal experience of something that I think is good for us!

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When?

We set a date on our calendar that we do our review on every year. We picked a date that has significance to us (well the week has meaning to us for many reasons) and marked it in our calendar. I also set a reminder a month before to make a dinner reservation and a week before to get each of us working on our notes. I do not think that a ‘real’ anniversary is a good time to do this. We purposely avoided doing it on our wedding anniversary or our dating anniversary because we want those dates to be purely fun and romantic and magical and not filled with conversations that have the potential to get heavy. We go out to a restaurant and if we have enough privacy at our table then we will discuss things there but if not we will just do our ‘review’ once we get home. The rest of the night is just a typical, fun date night. Scheduling a walk is another good way to do it. Just get away from your phones and chores and distractions to have an uninterrupted conversation. I think that the most important thing is setting a date on your calendar and sticking to it like you would a review at work.

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Creating Your Review:

I created a Google Doc and in it I copied and pasted our vows to one another. I want to just read them as a nice little refresher from time to time. However, those are pretty broad strokes and I want to discuss more specific things for this review. I like to keep the goals relatively specific and narrowed down. I also believe on working on one thing at a time so I stick to only 1 goal per ‘category.’ In the document, I put the year and then the following items to review. I think that it’s helpful to write them down so that you can reference them and check in with yourself and how you are doing. Jay suggested that we check in on those goals formally at least once a month in order to track our progress and keep ourselves accountable, which I think is a great idea. Plus, I just think that the practice of writing down goals is a good practice in general. During our review, we each take turns reading our reviews (we really just talk about it and don’t read off the document) and then discuss them and talk about ways to make them happen. The most important thing to remember is that you are not under attack and to not get defensive! Being able to receive criticism from both yourself and your spouse is so important so I think that you have to truly leave your defensiveness at the door and be open to listening and making it happen. The same thing goes with how you discuss things with your partner. Avoid using the words “always” and “never.” Don’t say, “you always do this” or “you never do this.” I also wouldn’t label your spouse as “being” something. I would say that he/she “sometimes DOES XYZ & it can be problematic because XYZ.” You are not badgering, hating on, or blaming your spouse for their area of improvement. I also think that it’s helpful to remember that you are a team and that you are going to help set and accomplish his/her goals just like you want his/her help in accomplishing your own. I try to brainstorm strategies for accomplishing the goals for both of our areas of improvement and work as a team to make progress in them.

Here are the things that we include in our review:

  • Area that I think I can improve on personally

  • Area that I think we can improve on as a couple

  • Area that I think my husband can work on

  • Jay suggested adding in a category for how we can each improve our finances so we are going to add that in each year as well

Like I said, we discuss these things on a regular basis and often have in depth conversations about them. However, I think it’s a good practice to write them down, track our progress, and really hold ourselves and each other accountable. We all need moments in life to stop and reflect and make positive changes.

Example Goal:

I don’t want to splatter our whole review in a blog post but I think that it’s helpful to see one example so here’s my review for the area that I think we can improve on as a couple: I think that we need to set aside more ‘active’ moments to have fun together and enjoy each other and our marriage, even with all of the hardship that we are facing. We have been just burying our noses in the pain and issues surrounding us and not taking enough time to just simply have fun. Even with all of the recovery issues, mourning, and other stressors in our lives, we need to take advantage of this time when it is just the 2 of us at home and have more fun loving moments without the stress. We’ve been drowning and trying to survive these past few months and now I want to make a more active effort to set aside blocks of time to have fun where we are not allowed to talk about those stressful/sad things. I want to schedule more date nights, walks, and weekends away where the whole intention is fun and not responsibilities or coping with hardship.

Give It A Try:

If this at all interests you, give it a try! It’s really not as big of a deal as it seems at all. Obviously, the area of improvement for your spouse is more sensitive but I think its likely something you are already discussing but this is at least doing it in a productive and healthy way. I also think that self reflection is an even more important component of it. Maybe you think I’m nuts and if its not for you then definitely don’t do it! If you try it and like it though, please let me know!

Shopbop Sale Spring 2019

Shopbop’s big sale is here and its the perfect time to stock up on Spring/Summer wardrobe pieces! I know that the items that Shopbop carries can be pricier so I kept all of my picks to items under $100. Its the perfect time to get the sandals, shorts, and other essentials that you’ll wear all season long once the sun comes out! Just use the code GOBIG19 to receive 15% off orders of $200 or more, 20% off orders of $500 or more and 25% orders of $800 or more. Click on any image above or below to shop.

Accessories

Shoes

Clothes

Swimwear Picks
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A little bit ago I asked on my Instagram stories what you guys are currently searching for and was shocked how many people said bathing suits! It’s never too early to start dreaming of warmer weather. In fact, I think its a bit of a lifeline for these winter months! I know a lot of people are also preparing to go on vacation somewhere warm. If you are going away, make sure to also check out my Spring Break Clothes Under $100 post. I tried to cover all of the bases here with a variety of bikinis and one pieces. I also made sure to include some more appropriate options for times when you don’t want your a** hanging out, like when you are around your dad or playing with your kids. They’re all super cute! Click on any image to shop.

One Piece Swimsuits

Bikinis

Spring Break Clothes-Under $100

Spring Break is just around the corner! Isn’t it funny to think about what Spring Break means as a kid versus a college student versus a parent? I actually met my husband on (actually on the plane to) the MOST college Spring Break trip to exist. It was in Acapulco, Mexico and was straight out of the scene from MTV Spring Break. Who else remembers those videos on MTV and then again of Ross on Friends haha. This trip was full of wet t-shirt contests (I did not participate) and all of the other college break scenes that you could imagine. Nowadays, the reference to Spring Break in my circle is from my friends who are teachers and families that I am planning vacations for (I am a travel agent and my company is the Cozy Traveler and it is an affiliate of Smartflyer for those of you that don’t know). Even if its not during Spring Break timing for schools, this is the best time to go away because all of the magic of winter has more than worn off and with the lack of holidays, these next few months move by slowly (particularly slowly when you are recovering from surgery and haven’t left the house in 5 weeks!!!).

So, whose going away for Spring Break? I wish that I was going away but since I’m not, you’ll have to say hi to the sunshine for me and soak it all up! Either way, looking at Spring/Summer clothes and starting to shop for them gets me in a better mood. Its fun to have new pieces that you are excited about packing and bringing on vacation. I know that going on vacation can hurt your wallet enough though so all of these picks are under $100! Stay tuned later in the week for my bathing suit roundup…it’s amazing! Let’s get shopping for your warm weather vacation! Just click on any image to shop!

Shirataki Tofu Pad Thai
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I’ve been wanting to try Shirataki noodles for a while because they are almost zero calorie noodle substitutes. However, I’ve heard how they smell so bad and can taste bad so I was wary to try them. I heard that the key to them not smelling bad is to rinse them really, really well. I rinsed mine for almost 15 minutes as I prepped the rest of the meal and just held my breath when I was around them because I didn’t want to risk getting turned off from wanting to eat them. I also figured that I would do the first recipe as one with a powerful sauce. It all turned out so well and I was so happy with the results! I didn’t miss the real noodles in this recipe (but I know that with a red sauce it wouldn’t be the same). My husband was SO impressed with it and kept saying how it was the best Pad Thai he’d ever had, which seems like too generous of a compliment but I’ll take it. I made mine vegetarian but you could easily sub in chicken or shrimp for the tofu. Also, even though there were only 2 people eating, I made this recipe for 4 servings so that we could eat it as leftovers the next day. The leftovers held up pretty well and were even good cold. It’s a great healthy alternative to a typical Pad Thai dish!

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Ingredients (yields 4 servings):

2 packages of tofu Shirataki noodles (I used House Foods Tofu Shirataki Fettuccini)

1 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

4 T Sriracha

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

3 T avocado oil

1 T sesame oil

Pinch of black pepper

1.5 cup shredded carrots

1.5 cups snow peas

Scallions, chopped for garnish

1 block of extra firm tofu (I used Nasoya Organic Extra firm tofu)

1 T olive oil

Directions:

Remove the Shirataki noodles from the packaging and place them in a mesh strainer. Run cold water over them for 10-15 minutes (go over and mix them up so that the water hits a different spot every few minutes).

Place a pot of boiling water over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Remove the tofu from the packaging and place on a cutting board with a folded paper towel on top of it. Then, top it with another folded paper towel and something heavy to weigh it down (I used a heavy skillet). Allow it to sit like this for at least 20 minutes in order to drain a lot of the water from the tofu. Feel free to replace the paper towels half way through in order to absorb more water.

While you are rinsing the noodles and letting your tofu drain water, prepare your sauce. In a blender, combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, Sriracha, garlic, lime juice, avocado oil, sesame oil, and black pepper. Blend at medium speed until all ingredients are combined and sauce is smooth. Set the sauce aside.

Once your tofu is drained, cut it into 1 inch cubes. Heat a skillet over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Sauté the tofu in the olive oil until it is golden brown on all sides. Set the tofu aside.

Place the Shirataki noodles in the boiling water for a few minutes (follow the directions on the packaging).

While the Shirataki noodles are cooking, use your sauté pan again to sauté the shredded carrots and snow peas (for approximately 5 minutes) in olive oil.

Drain the Shirataki noodles in a mesh strainer. Then, add the Shirataki noodles, sauce, vegetables, and tofu to a large mixing bowl. Toss with tongs to mix and then serve!




Hoboken Guide
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This post is very over due because it combines 2 things that I am so passionate about…food and Hoboken! I have lived in Hoboken for 4.5 years now and my husband has lived here for 7 years (since back when he was just my boyfriend and I would visit him). I love this square-mile city so much! Hoboken is only 1 square mile so you can easily get everywhere. It has a slower pace than the concrete jungle across the river but still has easy access to Manhattan for work and play. The views of the river and skyline from my building (and many of these restaurants) is iconic and I feel grateful every single time I see it! I love that there is open, green space and a neighborhood feel. For some reason, I find it comforting to pass so many of the same people on the street. Part of that neighborhood feel is the restaurants! I love having our go-to spots and that so many of them are relatively affordable (when compared to NYC) and BYOB. Now, I want to share those spots with you!

In this post, I cover why/when you would go to each of these spots and some of my favorite items at each of them. I am a vegetarian so I also talk about my husband’s favorite items (he eats meat). I cover a few different categories to make it organized and easy!

One of my husband & my favorite things to do on a weekend is just take a walk to coffee shops in town. We love being able to walk right out of our apartment, hand in hand, and wander through town. We don’t buy coffee/tea during the week so its a special treat when we do. In this post, I share my favorite coffee shops! I also cover my favorite brunch spots and even talk about my techniques for making process of waiting for a table more enjoyable. I know how tricky large group brunches are so I share my favorite go-tos for birthday brunches and larger gatherings.

I list out my favorite dinner spots and describe the atmosphere/appropriate occasions. I also talk about my go-to delivery spots (we get the same things delivered on rotation and I’m not even ashamed about it because they are just SO good).

Then, I talk about different bars. In full transparency, I don’t go out to bars at night frequently due to my chronic pain issues, which gets worse later in the day. I’m more likely to frequent a bar during a nice day or attend a happy hour. Therefore, I brought my husband into the mix on this topic. There are also a ton of Irish pubs in downtown Hoboken but we’ve really graduated from that scene by this point in our lives (they are great for the post-grad phase of life), so I don’t know much about them anymore.

Finally, I cover the best delis in Hoboken! Hoboken has a strong Italian influence, culture and history. It is the birth place of Frank Sinatra and has a ton of ‘OG’ Italian Americans. Therefore, the Italian food, including delis, is really important here. The fresh mutz is unparalleled and there are too many pizza spots to count (I included my all time favorites in the delivery and dinner sections). These delis are no-frills and super old school. They aren’t the nicest things to look at (its a to-go situation) and follow their own rules. They give the impression that they aren’t aiming to conform to the service industry standard but their food exceeds any standard in place. We love getting items from the deli and then eating them at a picnic!

It’s a lengthy post but I hope that it’s helpful! Sending so much love to all of my fellow Hobokenites! If you have a favorite spot in Hoboken, please drop it in the comments!

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Coffee Shops:

Bluestone Lane: The best chai tea latte (although the portion size is weak). They have outdoor seating with wait staff too, which is nice. They have healthy food options, which are served brunch style by a waiter. You can order coffee at the counter in to-go containers, which is what I usually do.

Bwè Kafe: This name means “drink coffee” in Haitian Creole! This is right up the street from me and has a cool boho atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed (when its not super crowded). They are a socially responsible company because they donate a portion of their proceeds to Haiti relief efforts. They sell healthy treats and also usually carry baonanas, which is the best banana pudding ever (my favorite flavor is the French Toast but the classic is also so good). I think that Baonanas is better than Magnolia’s banana pudding and I love supporting a small business (the business story is cool). If I’m at the coffee shop on a Saturday morning, I’ll sometimes grab one of these to stick in my fridge and eat for dessert at night.

Choc-O-Pain: A great spot for pastries when you want to be more indulgent! The other 2 coffee shops have a healthier flare and this spot brings the buttery, flakey goodness! They have two locations. The downtown location has more of a Parisian cafe, cozy feel and the uptown location is more sleek and bright/airy and has a ‘playroom’ with toys.

Brunch:

Anthony Davids: This is my #1 favorite brunch spot! They also have great dinner, which I discuss in more detail below. They have both outdoor and indoor seating in the warmer months. They don’t accept brunch reservations so you should expect to wait during peak hours. I go and put my name/number down and then walk across the street to Bwe Kafe and grab coffee/tea and either hang out in the coffee shop during the colder months or go for a walk with the coffee/tea in the warmer months until my table is ready at Anthony Davids. I LOVE the challah french toast and highly recommend it! I also like their salads. They have unique Eggs Benedict creations and everyone loves them. Jay’s favorite are the French Toast and Crispy Bacon Benedict and the Ricotta and Truffle Benedict. He also is a fan of the Guacamole and Spicy Chorizo Benedict, Crab Cake Benedict, Maine Lobster Roll Bay Benedict and the Burger. It’s BYOB so bring a bottle of champagne!

La Isla Uptown: La Isla Uptown only serves brunch on Sundays. On Saturdays they have breakfast and then lunch hours. Bobby Flay threw down against Chef Omar of La Isla with his Stuffed French Toast and Chef Omar was the winner! The Stuffed French Toast is really good but super decadent so I recommend getting it as a share item for the table. They have good breakfast sandwiches and a nice variety of breakfast and lunch items. Don’t forget to order their Cuban Latte if you’re a coffee drinker! Plus, they have a bar and serve great cocktails. I share more of Jay’s favorite items in the dinner section of this post.

Turning Point: This place wins points for my favorite dish there and loses points for service. It’s got a diner vibe to it and is super casual and laid back. As a result, its very kid friendly. I always expect a long wait before getting seated so I tend to go in the Spring and Fall. I put my name down in the restaurant section, grab a Chai Tea Latte from the coffee shop section (its so good…definitely more sugary than others but in an addictive way), and sit on a bench out front and take in the skyline views. Sitting along the waterfront makes the waiting process more enjoyable than being cramped inside the small waiting area with everyone else. The other reason that I love going there in the Fall is that my favorite items on the menu are perfect for that season! The Chai Tea Latte and Cornbread French Toast give you all of the Fall feelings! They also set up outdoor seating on nice days, which is great since it has such awesome skyline views! They are BYOB so you can bring champagne and they will make you mimosas.

Halifax: This is a big ‘birthday brunch’ spot in Hoboken. This restaurant is in the W Hotel and has a really fun atmosphere, which feels chic and buzzy. It’s great for groups because you can do a set menu and pricing. You have the option of doing a Bubbles Brunch, which includes unlimited food (they bring everything on the menu in small plates, sharing style) for a set number of hours. The unlimited food portion is $25/person but you can add in a bottle of sparkling wine per person for another $10, which makes the whole thing only $35/person. It’s a really good deal and great for any group gathering. Plus, it has big windows and is set along the Hudson River so you can enjoy the awesome views!

Elysian Cafe: We tend to go here in the Spring and warmer months because the outdoor section is so charming! It’s a French restaurant and it definitely gives you a Parisian feeling when you sit outside with all of the flower boxes and twinkly lights from the trees. It makes for a romantic date night spot in the warmer months when you can sit outside as well. They have good French Onion Soup and are BYOB. Expect to wait (especially if you go for brunch), but there is a park right up the street called Elysian Park so I’ll typically go for a walk in the park until my table is ready.

Bare Burger: This is a go-to casual spot that has a lot of healthy options. They have outdoor and indoor seating. It’s a great spot for kids or for when you don’t want any fuss and just want good, healthy food. All of their meat is grass fed and all that jazz. I love the various veggie burger options and get one of them in a collard green wrap with the special sauce and guacamole. Plus, I always have to get a side of sweet potato fries and spicy pickles. I’ve heard they have good chicken and waffles for brunch and they have other breakfast items on the menu as well. My niece and nephew were hugs fans of it when we took them. Don’t tell them that the milkshakes they enjoyed were vegan!

Otto Strada: This is not my favorite spot in Hoboken for brunch on the regular but its a good option for big groups because they can actually accommodate you and will accept brunch reservations. I’ve gone to a couple of birthday brunches here and its a perfect spot for that. They have great breakfast pizzas! They are BYOB for brunch and dinner.

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Dinner:

Antique Bar & Bakery: Antique is our favorite date night spot and the place that we usually meet up with friends at. Its dark and cozy so its definitely more of a cold-weather spot. It’s got a Speakeasy vibe and great cocktails to match. They play loud music so it definitely feels a little more Manhattan-like than the typical Hoboken spots. Its a great place to order a bunch of food to share. They have a gigantic coal oven, where they cook most of their items in to give them a unique flavor. They accept ‘waitlist appointments, which are basically reservations on Resy. My favorite items are the butternut squash and the cookie skillet (featured in photo above). I don’t typically order dessert at a restaurant unless I’m on vacation (I eat dessert, just once I’m home on my couch in my PJs after an eating break haha) but I always need to get this item. Great, now I’m craving it! Jay is a fan of the steak.

Anthony Davids: Our favorite neighborhood spot. I don’t go here too frequently because its a little pricey but when I do I love it. You can bring your own wine, which helps bring down the cost. It has indoor and outdoor seating and even the indoor seating is good. They don’t accept reservations on the weekends.

Bin 14: This wine bar is great for a tapas style dinner where people share a lot of food. It’s also a good spot to go out to a real lunch for a meeting or something like that. They have set seating times on the weekends and I would recommend making a reservation on Open Table in advance.

Dozzino: This is our go-to casual spot with AMAZING artisanal pizza. My husband and I will typically go here on a Friday night when we don’t have any plans and want to go out last minute. They don’t take reservations and you may need to wait, especially if you’re with a big group. It’s a good option for a big group if you don’t mind waiting though because its BYOB, affordable and has great food. The pizza is classic Neapolitan style and reminds me so much of how pizza actually is tastes Italy. The crust is so fluffy and amazing! They are a no-frills establishment so don’t expect to be treated like royalty (they sometimes give you paper cups and give you a pizza cutter to cut your own pizza). In fact, they may not even have all of the items available (they hand you paper menus with items out of stock crossed off). The laid back vibe is just what I want a lot of the time though. It’s my favorite spot to just wear shorts, a t-shirt and sandals to on a summer night where I sit outside by the twinkle lights at a bistro table. Plus, the pizza is so insanely good that I will ALWAYS go back for more. Let me warn you that they are not open on Mondays (I was crushed one holiday weekend when I went on a Monday and was looking forward to it all day). They have a bocce ball court outside. It’s definitely a favorite in our house!

La Isla Uptown: This Cuban establishment is my husband’s favorite spot. He loves the Cuban Rueben and Maduros. It’s got great cocktails (the mojitos are awesome) and a cool atmosphere. The show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and Drives featured their original downtown Hoboken location. The show highlighted the Papa Relleno (mashed potato stuffed with ground beef, breaded and fried) and Tasajo Con Boniato (braised dry-cured shredded beef served with Cuban sweet potato and rice). The uptown location doesn’t have any outdoor seating but it has a lot of big windows and a modern, airy vibe. This is another great spot for a sit-down lunch as well.

Augustinos: If Tony Soprano was still alive and frequenting Hoboken, this is where he would go to dinner. Its a small spot with Italian-American favorites done well. It’s a classic spot that really speaks to Hoboken. Its kind of a hole in the wall in terms of size but has an old school Italian vibe with white tablecloths to boot. My husband says that the Veal Parmesan here is better than the famous Veal Parmesan at Carbone. Unfortunately, its close to impossible to get a reservation here since its a small establishment and so many people have standing reservations. Your best bet is to call and ask to be put on a waitlist and/or call the day of to see if there were any cancellations.

Sorrelina: Another Hoboken wine bar! They decorate really nicely for the holidays so I like to go there around that time of year and get a hearty, cozy meal. Its a modern Italian establishment with a bit more of a flare than the classic Italian-American dishes like Chicken Parmesan. They change their menu seasonally, which I appreciate. The Ricotta Crostini is amazing and everyone likes the Ragu Pasta. It can get pricey, especially since its not BYOB like so many of the spots we frequent, but its not anything crazy. They are really knowledgeable about wine and have an awesome selection. They accept reservations and have outdoor seating in the warmer months.

Orale Mexican Kitchen: This new spot is a welcome addition in Hoboken. The original location is in Jersey City. It has a trendy and cool atmosphere with crazy decor that makes it fun. It also has some trendy twists on classic Mexican dishes (think truffle guacamole). Its buzzy and loud and a bit of a ‘scene.’ I think that its a spot that you go to for the atmosphere and having a fun Saturday night out with friends or for a first date. They accept reservations with some limitations.

Charritos: There are 3 Charritos locations: downtown (vegan), midtown (authentic Mexican with more entree focus) and a location in Weehawken (tex-mex). We typically get this as our go-to delivery so we don’t go the restaurant unless we have guests in town usually. We used to frequent the uptown location but then it closed and a piece of my heart broke. I go in depth on my order and tips in the delivery/take out section of this post. They accept reservations with some limitations. It’s BYOB and if you bring tequila they can make you margaritas and if you bring wine they can make sangria (with a charge). I haven’t given the vegan restaurant that they opened enough of a chance yet because what I LOVE there is the cheese but I want to go there during the week.

Cucharamama: This South American spot has the flare and the food. I prefer going here in the warmer weather and sitting outside. The bread alone is enough of a reason to go! This is a fun spot to go with a group because you can order a bunch of dishes and try them tapas style. The only downside is that they can be a little inconsistent and I haven’t figured out the schedule as to when its been better. They accept reservations.

Del Frisco’s Grille: I hardly ever go here because I typically go into Manhattan if I’m looking for a fancy, ‘special occasion’ meal. However, this is a good spot to go with your parents when they visit and things of that sort. Its lively and fun in there. It is a more laid back version with more unique items on the menu than the Del Friscos in Manhattan though. They accept reservations.

Amandas: This spot is a little stuffy for me because I’m just not really a white tablecloth gal. However, I appreciate their attention to detail and care for cuisine. I think this is a great restaurant to go to take your dad out to on his birthday or bring your grandma to when she visits. They accept reservations.

Saku: I haven’t been yet but I’m so excited to try this new Japanese restaurant that I’ve heard great things about!

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Delivery/Take Out:

Charritos: If you follow along on my Insta-stories then you know that this is a weekly staple in my household. I basically need to get Cheese Enchiladas every weekend that I’m home. I want to be ashamed but I’m honestly not because it makes me so happy. The Cheese Enchiladas with salsa ranchera are my favorite. Jay mixes it up more than I do and rotates between the Steak Burrito, different enchiladas, and various tacos. All of the items reheat really well with a quick zap in the microwave. We always get spicy Guacamole, of course. Their chips that come with it are the best! Sometimes we also get flour tortillas, cheese and Guacamole delivered from there to make quesadillas at home and they are so good! It’s my favorite meal of all time! Ever since they closed the 11th street location, I’ve found that getting Uber Eats delivery from the Weehawken location is my best bet for getting the enchiladas just right! As you can see, I take it very seriously!

Johnny Pepperoni: We’ve tried so many of the famous NYC & Brooklyn spots and Johnny Pepperoni (aka Jpeps in our house) holds a strong flame against the competition (and beats out many of them). We get fried eggplant (its the thin, super fried kind) and hot peppers as toppings. My husband also loves the pepperoni so he will get that when he’s not eating vegetarian with me. We get their round pie (classic crust thickness) usually but Jay loves getting the square pie (thick, grandma style crust) whenever someone else will order it with him (I like it but would rather the classic and also I’d rather eat more pizza than just one slice of the thicker crust). I always put it in the oven once we get it delivered and just a quick reheat in the oven goes a long way. Trust me, it’s worth the wait and SO good.

Grimaldis: A famous establishment for obvious reasons! We typically get the plain pie. Definitely reheat it in the oven. The crust is so good! They do not work with any apps so you have to order directly with them.

Honey Grow: My go-to salad place. Its better when you get it there because you have more options than when you get it delivered. It’s also really efficient because they have touch screens where you input your own order.

Mamoun’s Falafel: My favorite Mediterranean spot. I usually will get some sort of platter with falafel, hummus, feta, lettuce, and pita.

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Bars:

Pier 13: This is a seasonal bar/food truck destination that is set on a pier that juts out over the Hudson river with the most epic views of the NYC skyline. Pier 13 used to be one of my favorite places ever but over the years, its definitely taken a turn. It now attracts a lot of out of towners..some of whom wear heels and get dressed to the nines for this outdoor, formerly super chill bar. They used to have bean bag chairs, Jenga and live music…basically I can’t get over mourning the loss of what it once was. However, I figured out that in order to get that chill atmosphere, I just have to go there during the week and avoid it on the weekends (except some during the day visits on the weekends can be fine). I think that an awesome night out is just walking to the Pier, grabbing food from the food trucks, and going into the bar section to hang out (obviously with beer, sangria or rosé for those who can drink). They also have movie night there where you go and watch a movie on a projector screen! I recommend following Pier 13 on social media so you can see the dates they are open (since the weather really impacts it), the food trucks that they have on site, any events (such as movie night), etc. It’s a really fun and unique spot!

Pilsener Haus & Biergarten: I love going here in the warmer months when I can sit outside at the picnic tables! This spot begs you to have a pretzel and beer and just hang with your friends for hours. Make sure to go in the Fall for Oktoberfest!

Green Rock: In this area it’s hard to find a bar with such great pricing. This bar will make you feel like you’re back in college with $1 beer happy hour.

City Bistro Rooftop: Another good spot for the warmer months. I’ve found the food to be hit or miss so I stopped going there for the sole purpose of having dinner but I think that its a fun spot to meet friends for happy hour with food and drinks.

Texas Arizona: For my fellow Penn State alum, this is a great spot to watch the games, along with Village Pour House.

Sting Ray Lounge: A more upscale and mature place (hence the lounge name) for an older crowd and/or a good date spot. They serve oysters as well.

10th And Willow: My husband used to frequent this spot during his bachelor/less crazy of a work schedule days. It was his go-to spot for Monday night football because they have all you can eat wings.

Wicked Wolf: The most popular place to watch a football game in the square mile. It’s bumping there on a football Sunday!

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Delis:

Fiore’s: This is the GOAT deli! It’s old school in every sense. It’s super old school and authentic. The roast beef sandwich is their most famous item but they sell out of it so quickly so you have to go on the designated day to get it. They have amazing fresh mozzarella that I LOVE. They are closed on Sundays and are cash only.

M & P Biancamano: They typically win the Mutz Fest competition (a competition where you try all the different fresh mozzarella from the different delis and vote. Mutz Fest has a really cool concept but I didn’t particularly enjoy it because its held inside and was SO crowded and loud. I wish they would do it as an outdoor festival). I will go here and grab fresh mozzarella when I’m making a cheese plate for entertaining, which always goes over well. I also love grabbing mozzarella, bread and olive oil and taking it for a picnic in the warmer months. It’s a major hole in the wall shop and nothing fancy or nice but the owners are just how you want/expect them to be. They’re closed on Sundays and are cash only.

Vito’s: Our go-to spot for delivery when we want deli items. We tend to get this in the summer when we can get it delivered to the pool or rooftop and eat outside. There are so many choices in Hoboken but we think this is the best deli that delivers.