Friday Five {places}

instead of five random things i am loving this Friday, i’m going to make this week the Friday Five in places — five spots i’ve been to around NYC in the past week.

1. Om Factory. in case you missed my first NYC yoga experience, you can read more about it here. i started off the week on a high note by attending a Foundations yoga class with one of my besties at Om Factory’s midtown location. even after just one experience there, i would recommend this studio: the staff was friendly, the space was really cool and clean and inviting, and they offer a wide variety of classes. i plan to go again this coming Monday…and once i start getting a little more comfortable with this whole yoga business, i def would like to try acro and aerial yoga classes.

Om-Factorylooks pretty darn awesome.

2. Biergarten at the Standard. located at the bottom of the see-and-be-seen Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking district, this trendy biergarten is a fun, loud, laid-back after-work spot that attracts a super diverse crowd: you’ll share a picnic table with suits guys and groups of girls in flip flops and tanks and people coming right from the gym or yoga all at the same time. it’s always a fun spot (especially if you get there early enough to grab a table), almost always crowded, and makes for some great people watching. they practice segregation, too: there are two bars, one solely serving beer and another for the non-beer drinkers,  serving just wine and hard alcohol.

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it’s a fun place to go with groups, which is what we did last night for one of my close friend’s “leaving our workplace” drinks (so sad!). you can play ping pong, or try to name all the flags of the world, or try to convince the bouncer you’re not Zooey Deschanel. the possibilities are endless.

brgtrnhave i mentioned how wonderful and lovely my girlfriends are? yeah, i think i have.

3. Ambrose Hall and Beer Garden at the South Street Seaport. one of my fave things about NYC is that you can walk down a street you’ve been down countless times before, and suddenly you discover something entirely new. (and a line from a Beauty and the Beast song just immediately popped into my head: “there may be something there that wasn’t there before”…brrrppp Disney fan). walking around the South Street Seaport downtown yesterday, which is such a charming, quaint part of Manhattan, we stumbled upon a brand-new outdoor bar over looking an open square of picnic tables where they were setting up for a concert.

not much of a beer girl at all, but every now and then in the middle of sunshine, it seems right

not much of a beer girl at all, but every now and then in the middle of sunshine, it seems right

directly across the street is Ambrose Hall, the affiliated restaurant. it’s a fun addition to the Seaport, and i see many after-works potentially happening her. this is one perk of working downtown — i love being near the Seaport and definitely need to take advantage of it more often.

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4. Amélie
a girlfriend and i got all European last Friday after work and hit both a French and an Italian wine bar on the same evening. this was my first time at Amélie, a modern French wine bar & bistro in Greenwich Village. it proved to be a bright, lively little spot with a nice wine assortment, good happy hour prices, and a staff who all speak French. can’t hate any of that.

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it strikes me as more of a hang-out-with-the-girls-after-work place than a good date spot, as it’s not the coziest or quaintest of places, but it’s got a fun little charm of its own and the bartenders were really friendly. i think my favorite part was that little wooden sliding ladder behind the bar and all the wines displayed.

photo from yelp.com

photo from yelp.com

5. Virgola. i definitely have saved the best for last, purposefully. this little gem of a “blink-and-y0u’ll-definitely-miss it” wine and oyster bar was one of the best surprises i’ve stumbled upon in my city as of late — or possibly, as of ever. after leaving Amelie and putting our names in for dinner at Rosemary’s next door, we decided to walk down the street — and my friend saw a cast iron gate that reminded us of Paris, so we had to stop and see what that was all about.

phototurned out to be suchhhhh the right decision. this place was unlike any restaurant i’ve ever experienced, and we quickly knew we would be foregoing Rosemary’s that night.

first of all, it wasn’t an actual “restaurant space” — it was a former 6-foot wide alleyway, which owner Joseph Marazzo bought and creatively turned into an intimate little restaurant with only a few tables and a wonderfully dark, cozy appeal. the painted black walls, the assortment of locks, the attentiveness of the waiters, and the quality of the wine and seafood all combine to make Virgola a truly darling and unique experience.we couldn’t stop proclaiming how happy we were to have found this spot! it was the perfect little place for a girls’ date on a Friday night.

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meaning “comma,” or a “pause,” Virgola certainly offers a welcome place of rest in the middle of a hectic city. i definitely need resting spots like this more often in my life.

and now, after a very fun but extremely busy week of traipsing around the city every night, i’m more than ready for a relaxing weekend upstate at the lake. hope you’ve all had a great week!

Questions:
Preference: beer garden/noisy fun hall or a little wine bar? wine bar for me, unless with a big rowdy group!
Favorite type of wine? i love me a good dry rosé champage.

 

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i did yoga and i liked itttttt

last night, i went to my very first yoga class.

let’s just let that sink in for a second, mmmkay? because for me, that’s a pretttty big deal.  talk about facing your fitness fears/doing something totally out of your comfort zone — that’d be yoga, in my world.

i honestly had no idea what to expect, and as i’ve shared before, i was prettttty sure i’d resemble something along these lines:

funnyyoga
thankfully, it wasn’t half that bad. as in, i felt pretty amazing and like i could totally get the hang of this and enjoy it as a complement to my running.

one of my bestest friends is really into yoga and has been so amazingly consistent in encouraging me to try a class with her for the past, errr, six months or so, and she took me to a Foundations class last night at Om Factory in Midtown. annnnd it was pretty darn awesome.

i’ve read quite a few other bloggers’ posts recently about “facing their fitness fears,” and i think yoga was about as close to a fitness fear for me as i’ve experienced in a while. it was more of the complete uncertainty surrounding it, worrying that i’d feel so silly in a room with a bunch of amazing yogis who know all the pose names and have these super flexible hips and hamstrings which my runner’s legs can only cry about.

and, like, om symbols and lotus flowers tattooed all over them and be way, way cooler than i am.

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in all honesty, i think i stayed out of a yoga studio for months because i was just so darn sure that i’d be that bad at it. and if you know me, you know that’s something i struggle with: i hate being bad at things. it’s not even that i’m super competitive with other people (okay so mayyyyyybe a little sometimes) — i just get really hard on myself. i should be able to run faster. i should be able to spin better in salsa. i should just naturally be an amazing yogi, because i like planks. and yoga pants.

when in reality, we need the learning curve. we need new challenges and new opportunities to grow; new ways to push ourselves both mentally and physically; new feats to embrace and ways to move ourselves forward. we cannot all be amazing at everything the first time, and there’s so much to learn from the journey.

a242
so what if i wasn’t doing any headstands or weird animal-named poses or touching my toes to the back of my head (seriously people, join the circus. right, i’m just jealous)…

yogahard
i still felt so good and so accomplished just trying something new, and stretching myself (pun intended?) in a different way. it was nothing like the workouts i’m used to, but it was still strenuous at times and definitely enjoyable and challenged me, which is all i can ask for.

and every time she said to get into plank position, my little heart rejoiced. at least i’ve got that one down, without having to see what Alex was doing beside me. me and planks are super tight.

superheroplanks
i definitely enjoyed myself and would go back in a heartbeat. it wasn’t half as intimidating as i expected and made me very conscious of how i was using my body. i’m not as self-aware when i’m running, as i am so used to it and just zone out with my music on and go for miles, whereas with this, i was totally focused on the lines of my body and how i was breathing and just being present with myself. and that was a really nice, unexpected change of pace.

so yay for yoga class #1 being tucked away behind me! already looking forward to the next.

Question:
What’s a fitness “fear” you have, or something you’re skeptical to try?
Any big yoga fans out there? Serious question for you: where do you buy your cutest yoga pants? 🙂